Studying in Canada has become much more expensive as the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a 100% increase in cost of living requirement yesterday.
Starting January 1, 2024, single study applicants must now show a cost of living financial requirement of about C$20,635 in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. This change applies to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.
Since the early 2000s, the cost-of-living requirement for studying in Canada has remained at C$10,000 for a single applicant. However, students have faced financial challenges as living costs have risen over time.
While stating the purpose for the increase, Canadian Immigration Minister, Mark Miller explained that “international students provide significant cultural, social and economic benefits to their communities, but they have also faced challenges navigating life in Canada. We are revising the cost-of-living threshold so that international students understand the true cost of living here.”
He added that, “this measure is key to their success in Canada. We are also exploring options to ensure that students find adequate housing. These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation."
In addition, the threshold will be updated annually when Statistics Canada changes the low-income cut-off (LICO). LICO is the minimal income required to ensure that an individual does not have to spend more than the average portion of their income on necessities. The LICO is updated annually and takes into account family size and community size (urban or rural) because the cost of living can vary in different regions.
Furthermore, Minister Miller provided updates on three temporary policies that were set to expire at the end of 2023, including the following:
- International students already in Canada, as well as applicants who have already applied for a study permit as of December 7, 2023, will be able to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week until April 30, 2024.
- The measure that has allowed international students to count time spent studying online towards the length of a future post-graduation work permit, as long as it constitutes less than 50% of the program of study, will continue to be in place for students who begin a study program before September 1, 2024.
- A temporary policy was introduced on three occasions to provide an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation work permit holders as their initial work permit was expiring. Foreign nationals with a post-graduation work permit expiring until December 31, 2023, remain eligible to apply. However, this temporary policy will not be extended further.
Over the years, Canada, the UK, and the US have been top destinations for international students. Since 2015 the number of Nigerian students going to Canada has been growing exponentially.
Speaking on the implication of Canada study news update, Oladipo Williams, an Early Career Education Advisor said, “I imagine it would cut down international student enrolment significantly. Maybe approximately 20-35%. Especially from countries like Nigeria, where money isn't easy to come by. Doubling the proof of fund requirements means those who don't have the money are unable to get their visa.”