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Canada's New Financial Threshold for International Students

Jan 23, 2024 3:45:24 PM • Written by: Soheil Hosseini

Canada's New Financial Threshold for International Students: A Double-Edged Sword?

Date: December 7, 2023

Canada's reputation as a prime destination for international students is undeniable. However, a recent announcement by the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, raises critical questions for the future of these students. Starting January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will see a significant hike, ostensibly to ensure students are financially prepared for life in Canada.

While the intent is to safeguard students against financial struggles, particularly in securing adequate housing, the updated requirement – a leap from $10,000 to $20,635 – might have unintended consequences. Is this hike, ostensibly aligned with the low-income cut-off (LICO) updates by Statistics Canada, too steep a climb for many aspiring students?

This change, not seen since the early 2000s, may inadvertently create a barrier for a diverse group of international talents. The risk of filtering out prospective students from varied economic backgrounds is real. Yes, the financial readiness of students is crucial, but at what cost to the rich diversity and inclusivity that Canada prides itself on?

Moreover, while the policy aims to shield students from vulnerability, the differential impact across various socio-economic strata of applicants cannot be overlooked. How will Canada balance this financial gatekeeping with its commitment to being a welcoming, inclusive educational destination?

The announcement also highlights the responsibility of learning institutions in managing student intake. The emphasis on institutions accepting only as many students as they can support, especially in housing, is a step in the right direction. But is it enough? 

Minister Miller’s extension of temporary policies like the waiver on the 20-hour work limit and the consideration of online study for work permits is a relief. Yet, the decision not to extend the 18-month additional work permit for post-graduation permit holders beyond December 31, 2023, adds another layer of complexity. Are we adequately supporting our international graduates in their transition into the Canadian workforce?

As Canada strengthens its financial requirements for international students, we must ask: Are we striking the right balance between financial preparedness and accessibility? It's imperative that these changes don't undercut the diverse, vibrant community that international students bring to Canadian campuses.


At Immigratic, we remain committed to guiding international students through these changing tides of Canadian immigration policies. Your success in Canada is our priority. #CanadaEducation #ImmigrationChallenges #InternationalStudentsRights #StudyInCanada

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Soheil Hosseini

Soheil Hosseini is a Canadian Immigration and Citizenship consultant. He represents Immigratic, a data-driven Immigration platform based in Ottawa, Canada.