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New Student Visa Rules in Canada: A Comprehensive Look

DALL·E 2024 01 04 20.51.33 Image of a family from the UAE discussing Canadas new student visa rules at their home. The family consists of two parents and a teenage child. They

The Financial Implications and Parental Concerns

Canada, a prime destination for international education, recently introduced new student visa requirements, significantly impacting students from the UAE and their families. The changes, effective January 1, 2024, are reshaping the landscape of overseas education for many.

Revised Financial Requirements

Marc Miller, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced a significant increase in the proof of financial support required for study permit applicants. Starting in 2024, students must demonstrate access to $20,635, doubling the previous requirement of $10,000, a figure that has remained unchanged for two decades. This increase aims to ensure students are financially prepared for life in Canada, addressing potential vulnerabilities and exploitation risks. The threshold will be adjusted annually based on the low-income cut-off (LICO) updates from Statistics Canada.

Impact on UAE Families

The UAE witnesses a steady flow of students to Canada, with over 1,400 students annually. Rashmi Menon, Director of Admissions at UniHawk, a student mobility platform, notes that these changes could disrupt the plans of many parents, especially those eyeing Canada for future immigration. While quality of education remains a priority for some, cost-sensitive families are exploring alternative destinations.

Saurav Banerjee, an Indian expat in Dubai, emphasizes the importance of considering the overall education expenses, not just the proof of funds. He believes if parents can afford the entire cost of university education, the new requirement should not be a significant barrier. Meanwhile, Subhashish Gupta, another Dubai-based Indian expat, views the policy positively, seeing it as a safety net against housing and financial challenges often faced by students in Canada.

Policy Updates

Several temporary policies affecting international students have been updated:

  • The waiver on the 20-hour-per-week work limit for international students has been extended to April 30, 2024.
  • Time spent in online study will count towards post-graduation work permits for those starting their program before September 1, 2024.
  • A temporary policy providing an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation permit holders will not be extended beyond December 31, 2023.

Rising Foreign Student Population

Despite these changes, Canada’s appeal as an international education hub remains strong. In the first half of 2023, over 280,000 new study permits were issued, marking a 77% increase from 2022. Records show 551,405 international students from 184 countries in 2022, with 807,750 holding valid permits by year-end. Projections suggest a continued rise in enrolment and permits, although the increased financial requirements may temper some students’ aspirations​​.

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