IRCC to raise cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants

Moving to Canada to pursue education has become more costly. Canada has increased the cost of living requirement for a single study permit to $20,635 from $10000 starting January 1, 2024, the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a press release. This threshold will be changed yearly when Statistics Canada updates the low-income cut-off (LICO). LICO represents the minimum income required to confirm that an individual does not have to spend a greater-than-average amount of income on essentials.

Since the early 2000s, the cost-of-living requirement has stayed fixed at $10,000 for a single applicant, leading to challenges for international students as the cost of living has risen over the term. Starting in 2024, a single applicant must show financial preparedness by offering $20,635, representing 75% of the low-income cut-off (LICO), and protecting their first year of education and travel expenses. This change applies to new study permit applications accepted on or after January 1, 2024. 

Extending working hours for students

Alongside the cost-of-living conditions,  Immigration Minister Mark Miller also provided updates on three temporary guidelines affecting international students. The waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus work has been extended until April 30, 2024, allowing students to work more than 20 hours per week while the course is in session. This extension applies to students now in Canada and those who submitted a study permit application by December 7, 2023.

Initially introduced on November 15, 2022, the waiver allows students to work more than 20 hours per week during the educational term. The department has said they are looking for options for this policy and might consider extending the cap to 30 hours per week.

Minister Miller also announced two post-graduation work permit (PGWP) updates.

First, The condition allowing international students to include online study in Canada representations toward their future PGWP, as long as it doesn’t surpass half of the total program duration, will be extended until September 1, 2024.

Secondly, there will be no other particular extensions for PGWPs beyond this period, emphasizing IRCC’s commitment to preserving clarity and stability in its policies. On three separate events, the government of Canada utilized a unique temporary policy to expand PGWPs for 18 months. Individuals eligible to apply under the most current extension policy (with work permits passing as late December 31, 2023), may do so. Still, IRCC will not seek to expand PGWPs after this period. For more information feel free to contact us.

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