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Canada doubles cost-of-living visa requirement for international students

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The Canadian government has announced an increase in the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants, effective January 1, 2024.

Under the new adjustment, a single applicant will need to demonstrate financial capacity by showing $20,635, in addition to covering their first-year tuition and travel costs.

This figure marks a significant increase, being double the previous amount of $10,000, which has been in effect for the past 23 years.

The Canadian immigration body clarified that the adjustment is part of ongoing efforts to align the financial requirement with the actual cost of living in Canada.

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The current financial threshold has not kept pace with rising living expenses, leading to instances where students arrive only to find that their funds fall short of meeting their needs.

As of December 7, 2023, the Canadian government has also introduced several measures to benefit international students.

Current students in Canada and those who applied for a study permit before the mentioned date will be permitted to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week until April 30, 2024.

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Moreover, students starting their programs on September 1, 2024, will be allowed to count online study time towards their post-graduation work permit application.

Additionally, a temporary policy has been implemented for foreign nationals with a post-graduation work permit expiring by December 31, 2023.

They can apply for an additional 18-month work permit, provided their application is submitted by the end of 2023.

The Canadian government highlighted its commitment to annually adjusting the cost-of-living requirement based on updates to the low-income cut-off by Statistics Canada.
LICO serves as the minimum income necessary to ensure individuals do not need to allocate an unusually high portion of their income to meet basic needs.

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The revised financial guidelines will also apply to the Student Direct Stream, a study permit stream designed for faster processing of applications from residents of 14 specific countries.

The government believes that these adjustments will not only prevent student vulnerability and exploitation but also recognizes the potential impact on each applicant may vary.

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