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Federal government doubling financial requirement for international students

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Another major change is coming for international students in Canada.

The federal government says it will double the cost-of-living financial requirement for foreigners applying to study in Canada.

Under the current requirement, which has been in place since the early 2000s, study permit applicants need to show they have $10,000 saved to cover their tuition and the cost of living in Canada.

Starting in 2024, a single applicant will need to show they have $20,635, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller announced Thursday.

"Enough is enough," said Miller. "If provinces and territories cannot do this, we will do it form them and they will not like the bluntness of the instruments we use."

Miller says the requirement hasn’t kept up with the cost of living, resulting in students arriving in Canada only to learn that their funds aren’t adequate.

"Moving to a more accurate cost of living level that helps international students arrive with necessary resources to live and study in Canada, future increases will be tied to the low-income cut-off Statistics Canada announces every year," he said.

Miller announced the change will come into effect for students applying after Jan. 1, 2024.

"[When] welcoming international students, we have the responsibility to make sure they are supported when they come to our country - but also want to make sure they don't become victims of unscrupulous individuals offering them inadequate housing," said Miller.

It comes just days after the feds announced they will be going back to the 20 hour per week limit for international students.

LOCAL COLLEGE REACTION

Conestoga College President John Tibbits says the measure is welcome news.

"I think it's a positive because, let's be very frank here, this is not a refugee program," Tibbits said.

“The students that are coming here will be able to afford to come here. It's not up to us to support them. There are scholarships that we can offer. But the foundation of this program is not for Canada to be supporting the students, it’s for them to support themselves and have a pathway to citizenship.”

Conestoga has seen a massive boom in international students with an increase of over 1,000 per cent in the last ten years.

According to Tibbits, Canada's economy needs these students, but that must be balanced with making sure they can succeed.

"They've always had to be able to demonstrate that they can pay rent, they have money for food, they can pay tuition," he said.

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