PoF is a financial requirement for persons applying to migrate to countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, to show that the applicants have enough money to support themselves and their families while in the new country.
Since the early 2000s, the Canadian cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants has been set at $10,000 for a single applicant.
However, in a statement on Thursday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the PoF has been reviewed to $20,635, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs, “so that international students are financially prepared for life in Canada”.
The change will apply to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024 and will be adjusted each year when Statistics Canada updates the low-income cut-off (LICO).
“International students provide significant cultural, social and economic benefits to their communities, but they have also faced challenges navigating life in Canada,” Marc Miller, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, said.
“We are revising the cost-of-living threshold so that international students understand the true cost of living here. This measure is key to their success in Canada.
“We are also exploring options to ensure that students find adequate housing. These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation.”
The IRCC also extended the waiver on the number of hours international students are allowed to work off campus while class is in session, to April 30, 2024.
NIGERIANS AMONG HARDEST HIT
The decision to hike the PoF will affect Nigerians who make up one of the largest percentages of international students in Canada.
In the first six months of 2023, Canada received 21,845 study permit applications from Nigerians — double the amount of the total it received in 2022.
The figures ranked Nigeria second, after India, on the list of countries with the most study permit applications.
The revision by the Canadian government also comes at a time when the UK announced stricter measures as part of efforts to curb migration.
In 2022, Canada said the country was looking to welcome 1,450,000 migrants between 2023 and 2025 to tackle labour shortage.
This is because the country relies heavily on economic immigration as a major driver of its revenue.
International education, which will now become difficult for many foreign students, accounts for more than $22 billion in economic activity annually, greater than Canada’s exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft.
International education supports more than 200,000 jobs in the North American country.