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Canada Announces Key Reforms for International Students Starting 2024

Published on: December 7th, 2023

In a significant move aimed at enhancing the experience of international students in Canada, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today a series of reforms addressing financial challenges and support for those pursuing education in Canada.


Financial Preparedness for International Students

Starting January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will be raised to ensure that international students are adequately prepared for life in Canada. The threshold will be adjusted annually based on Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off (LICO), representing the minimum income necessary to cover necessities. This change responds to the outdated financial requirement, which has yet to be adjusted since the early 2000s.

For 2024, a single applicant will need to demonstrate $20,635, representing 75% of LICO, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. The adjustment aims to prevent students from facing financial challenges upon arrival in Canada. The new requirement will apply to study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.


Pilots to Support Underrepresented Cohorts

Recognizing the varied impact of these changes on different applicants, the government plans to collaborate with partners to implement targeted pilots in 2024. These initiatives will explore innovative ideas to assist underrepresented cohorts of international students, ensuring inclusivity in the Canadian education system.


Ensuring Adequate Support from Learning Institutions

The announcement aligns with recent reforms to the International Student Program, emphasizing a new framework for recognizing learning institutions that provide top-quality services and support, including housing, to international students. Learning institutions are expected only to admit students they can adequately support, setting the stage for measures, including potential visa limitations, to ensure sufficient student support by September 2024.


Updates on Temporary Policies

Minister Miller also provided updates on three temporary policies affecting international students:

  • The waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus work will be extended to April 30, 2024, providing flexibility for students.
  • Students starting a study program before September 1, 2024, can continue counting online study time towards a future post-graduation work permit, constituting less than 50% of the program of study.
  • The temporary policy providing an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation work permit holders expiring up to December 31, 2023, will not be extended further.


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