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

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is raising the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants as of January 1, 2024.

Starting on January 1st, the cost-of-living requirement for a single study permit applicant will be $20,635. This is in addition to the first year of tuition and travel costs and will apply to study permit applications received on or after January 1st.

The new cost is more than double the current requirement of $10,000, an amount brought in during the early 2000s that has not been adjusted since.

IRCC says the financial requirement has not kept up with the cost of living in Canada and students have been arriving only to learn their funds do not go as far as they hoped.

In addition to the January 1st increase, the department says that the cost-of-living requirement will be now adjusted each year when Statistics Canada updates the low-income cut-off (LICO). LICO is considered the minimum necessary income required in Canada to ensure that individuals do not need to spend a higher-than-average portion of their income on basic necessities.

The department also notes that the new financial guidelines will be applied to the Student Direct Stream (SDS). The SDS is a study permit stream for applications from residents of 14 countries that offers faster processing.

IRCC says adjusting the cost-of-living requirement will help prevent student vulnerability and exploitation, but it recognises that the impact can vary with each potential applicant. It also says that next year it will implement targeted pilots to help underrepresented cohorts of international students pursue their studies in Canada.

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