Canada is scrapping the 18-month work permit extension for international students; 20+ hours work waiver to continue till April 2024
Canada has announced a raft of changes aimed at students coming to Canada from overseas, including that 18-month extensions to work permits for international students will not be provided from January 1, 2024. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), those who hold Post Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) that expire on or before December 31, 2023, will remain eligible to apply. However, this temporary policy, which was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic recovery, will not be extended further.
Furthermore, if you are a student beginning your academics after September 1, 2024, you will not be able to count the time spent studying online towards the length of a future PGWP. Once again, current students can make use of this distance learning measure.
Waiver on the 20-work-hours-per-week limit for international students extended
Minister for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Marc Miller also announced that international students can continue to work off-campus beyond the 20-hour-per-week limit that was waived during the pandemic. While this measure will be extended until April 30, 2024, the government is considering increasing the limit to about 30 hours a week. Until that date, international students currently in Canada, as well as applicants who have applied for a study permit, can work off-campus for more than 20 hours a week.
On a separate note, if you’re applying for a study permit now (after December 1, 2023), a new version of the study permit application form is available.
Changes made to proof of funds requirement so students can cover their cost of living needs
If you are an international student, you will need to show $20,635 as proof of funds when you apply for a study permit after January 1, 2024. The move is part of measures to protect international students coming to Canada, ensuring they have enough funds to cover their cost of living needs and avoid being preyed on by unscrupulous individuals.
The cost of living requirement has not changed since the early 2000s, when it was set at $10,000 per student. The revised fee is based on the country’s low-income cut-off (LICO), the minimum income necessary to ensure a person does not need to spend a greater-than-average portion of their funds on necessities. The updated amount represents 75% of the LICO, and will now be updated every year, based on the cost of living in the country.
“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… These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation.” – Immigration Minister Marc Miller
Alongside the abovementioned changes, Minister Miller stated that other measures are being planned for international students, such as making housing more easily available to them, both on and off campus, as well as reducing the number of study permits being issued to students, so that Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) can provide them with the proper supports needed.
Canada also continues to crack down on illegal activities against students. Three changes in the International Student Program to combat fraud in student admissions were announced in November 2023.
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