Pre-Departure Briefing Attendees

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New Immigration Policies In Canada

On 7th December 2023, Marc Miller – the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, stated:

“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. 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.”


The new policies are aimed at making international students financially prepared for life in Canada. The government has decided to raise the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants from January 1, 2024. The cost-of-living financial requirement was previously set to C$10,000 for a single applicant in early 2000s. It has not been changed for nearly two decades. For 2024, this will be raised to C$20,635 representing 75% of LICO, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. It is around 12,66,708.72 Indian rupee. This threshold will be updated further as the Statistics Canada updates the LICO. Low Income Cut-Off or LICO is an income threshold that is updated yearly based on inflation. 

The new guidelines will also apply to candidates applying through the Student Direct Stream (SDS). SDS is a special study permit application process available to residents of 14 countries. In this application processing the students need to produce Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) as a proof of their financial support. As per the new policy, the GIC will now need to be at least $20,635 instead of the previous $10,000 minimum.

Important Updates on Three Temporary Policies That Affect International Students

The Ministry has decided to extend the waiver on 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus work till April 30, 2024. This gives more flexibility to international students allowing them to work for more than 20 hours per week until that time. This may be extended to 30 hours per week later.
Students commencing their study programs prior to September 1, 2024, can continue to count online study time towards the length of a future post-graduation work permit. Provided the online hours constitute less than 50% of the total program duration.
The additional 18-month work permit offered to post-graduation work permit holders will not be extended after December 31, 2023.

Concluding Thoughts

The increase in the cost-of-living threshold is aimed to protect international students from potential financial vulnerabilities and exploitation. Even though the announcement has raised many doubts and concerns, the Canadian government strives to ensure a stronger financial footing for students arriving on study permit. The new policy reforms, particularly significant adjustment in the cost-of-living threshold, demonstrate a proactive approach to address the evolving needs of students in today’s evolving economic landscape. Though the new adjustments may raise initial concerns, the government looks forward to elevate overall experience and welfare of international students. Consult an overseas education consultant if you are planing to pursue your higher studies in Canada. Study abroad consultants in Kochi will keep you updated on the recent developments in immigration policies and assist you in application and visa processing.