Canada, December 08: In a bid to address what the government terms as "exploitation" in the international student program, Canada is implementing stringent financial requirements for those planning to study in the country. Minister Marc Miller announced a substantial increase in the funds required to be eligible for a study permit, aiming to ensure students have adequate financial support upon arrival.
Beginning January 1, 2024, prospective students must demonstrate access to $20,635 in addition to their tuition fees and travel expenses to secure a study permit. Miller emphasised the necessity of this adjustment to prevent students from encountering financial hardships once they arrive in Canada, asserting that understanding the true cost of living is crucial for their success.
The cost-of-living threshold for study permit applicants has remained stagnant since the early 2000s, set at $10,000, as per the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).
Moreover, the government extended the policy allowing international students to work more than 20 hours per week, without any cap, until April 30, 2024. There are discussions to permanently increase the work allowance to 30 hours per week; however, Miller dismissed the possibility of allowing full-time work permanently, despite calls from student groups.
These adjustments represent the latest actions in Canada's efforts to crack down on concerning practices within the international education sector. To combat fraud, changes to the verification process for admission letters were previously announced.
Miller also directed attention to accommodation issues, stressing that institutions should only accept international students if proper housing is available. He emphasized the necessity of providing adequate health support and ensuring an authentic academic experience, cautioning against institutions that compromise the quality of education by mass-producing diplomas.
Institutions and local governments were warned to address these concerns by September 2024, with Miller asserting that the government is ready to enforce significant visa limitations if necessary. He underscored that provinces failing to meet these standards might face strict regulatory actions, including potential closure of non-compliant learning institutions.