The country’s immigration minister also warned that visa limits may be imposed if institutions do not provide adequate support to students, as the government attempts to tackle “exploitation” in the international student program.
Minister Marc Miller confirmed on Thursday that anyone planning to study in Canada will need to show they have $20,635 in funds, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs, in order to be approved for a study permit.
Miller said the move was to stop students from realising they don’t have enough money to support themselves once they arrive in the country. The change will apply to new study permit applications received on or after January 1 2024.
“We are revising the cost-of-living threshold so that international students understand the true cost of living here,” he said. “This measure is key to their success in Canada.”
According to IRCC, the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants has not changed since the early 2000s, when it was set at $10,000.
The government has also extended the uncapped work rights policy, which allows international students in Canada to work more than 20 hours per week, until April 30 2024, when the current academic year ends.
IRCC is looking at permanently increasing the work allowance to 30 hours per week, but Miller ruled out allowing students to work full-time permanently, despite calls from student groups.
The changes are the latest step in a crackdown by Canada’s federal government on “bad actors” in the international education sector. The government previously announced a change to the verification process of admission letters to help tackle fraud.
Miller also warned institutions that they should only be accepting international students if they have somewhere for them to live, as Canada continues to face a housing crisis.
He added that the government expects “proper health supports and a proper academic experience” to be provided.
“There are, in provinces, the diploma equivalent of puppy mills that are just churning out diplomas,” he said. “And this is not a legitimate student experience.”
He threatened to limit visas if institutions and local governments do not tackle these issues by September 2024.
“We are prepared to take necessary measures, including significantly limiting visas, to ensure that designated learning institutions provide adequate and sufficient student supports as part of the academic experience,” he said.
“If provinces and territories cannot do this, we will do it for them and they will not like the bluntness of the instruments that we use.
“The provinces have a number of tools at their disposal, namely the regulation of the designated learning institutions, that in some cases just need actually to be shut down,” he added.
More details around a Trusted Institution Framework are expected in early 2024, stakeholders have previously said.
Source : The Pie News