International students in Canada can breathe a sigh of relief as the Canadian government recently announced significant updates that will impact their study and work experience in the country.
International Students Can Continue to Work in Canada With Studies
As 2023 draws to a close, so was the policy allowing international students to work more than the standard 20 hours per week. However, in a welcome turn of events, Canada’s immigration minister Marc Miller declared that this policy will now extend until April 30, 2024 (Fact Check). This extension is a boon for those who rely on part-time work to support their studies and living expenses in Canada.
Increased Financial Requirements for Study Permits
Concurrently, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a revision in the financial requirements for study permit applicants. The cost-of-living financial requirement, which has remained unchanged since the early 2000s at $10,000 CAD for a single applicant, will now be increased to $20,635 starting January 1, 2024. This change reflects the rising cost of living and aims to ensure that international students are adequately prepared financially for their stay in Canada. Notably, this threshold will be adjusted annually, aligning with other Canadian immigration programs as per following IRCC twitter (X) statement:
Starting January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will be raised to ensure that international students are better prepared for life in Canada. This threshold will be adjusted each year, similarly to other immigration programs. Learn… pic.twitter.com/AMlS80zc2Y
— IRCC (@CitImmCanada) December 7, 2023
Online Study and Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility
Another critical update pertains to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program. The pandemic-era measure, allowing time spent in online studies to count towards PGWP eligibility, will continue. This is applicable as long as online study constitutes less than half of the program. This measure is valid for students who commence a Canadian study program before September 1, 2024. However, it’s important to note that this provision will not extend beyond this date, as most international students are now studying in person in Canada.
Last Extension for PGWP Holders to Extend Work Permits
Lastly, as a special pandemic-related concession, PGWP holders with expiring work permits were previously allowed an 18-month extension to stay in Canada. In line with this, IRCC is permitting one final extension for PGWP holders whose permits expire on or before December 31, 2023. It’s important for students to note that this will be the last instance of this policy extension.