Canada’s International Student Program: Starting from January 1, 2024, specific students must now prove the availability of CAN$20,635 in funds, more than two-fold the earlier requirement of CDN$10,000.
The change aims to address a concerning trend where students, meeting the previous threshold, struggle upon arrival, exposing themselves to possible abuse and financial susceptibility. The modification is the first in a decade and echoes a broader scrutiny of Canada’s international student program by the federal government.
Economically, the new sum signifies 75% of the low-income cut-off in Canada (LICO), ensuring people have a adequate income for basic requirements. Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, stressed that these changes are vital for the accomplishment of international students in Canada.
Nevertheless, accepting that not all students can meet the increased funds obligation, the government plans to pilot initiatives to support “underrepresented cohorts” of international students.
Critics, including Sarom Rho of Migrant Students United, argue that the sudden financial modification creates blocks for working-class students, warning crucial calls for stability, equality, and permanent residency for all.
The heightened financial prerequisite comes amid fears about the rising cost of living in Canada for international students. A September 2023 survey by the Daily Bread Food Bank revealed that living expenses estimated during the application process significantly underestimated the actual costs for students in Toronto.
As international students wrestle with financial challenges, Minister Marc Miller issued a warning to institutions and provinces, urging them to improve student supports.
He highlighted the need for institutes to accept a manageable number of students and provide satisfactory housing or support in finding off-campus accommodation. Ahead of September 2024, the government is set to take measures, including visa limitations, to guarantee organizations offer adequate support.
These changes highlight the evolving landscape of Canada’s international student program, with the government determined to strike a balance between enticing global talent and safeguarding the well-being of those pursuing education.