The advantages of applying for your study permit this December

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently made impactful announcements regarding international students in Canada, many of which will come into effect January 1st, 2024.

Considering these announcements, students hoping to apply for their Canadian study permit may find some advantages in taking a simple step: submitting their study permit application in December 2023. Read on to learn what advantages applying for your study permit this month can yield.

Discover your options to study in Canada

Save $10,000 CAD on cost-of-living criteria

On December 7th, IRCC announced that it would be raising the cost-of-living requirement for international students in Canada, from $10,000 CAD to $20,635 CAD. The change comes in response to the rising cost-of-living in the country. In fact, the previous $10,000 figure was set in the early 2000s and has not been adjusted to reflect inflation since that time. Note that regardless of when students apply, they will have to demonstrate they have funds corresponding to the cost-of-living criteria amount, in addition to proof that their first year of tuition, and travel costs are already paid—in order to be eligible for a study permit.

This change to the cost-of-living requirement, however, is only set to come into effect on January 1st, 2024. Those who apply for a study permit before that deadline, even if they begin their studies later in 2024, will only have to pass a $10,000 cost of living requirement.

It should be noted, however, that IRCC has more than doubled the previous cost-of-living criteria to ensure that international students have the financial means to support themselves in Canada. Students who apply with the $10,000 requirement may find that this amount is not sufficient to cover their living costs, a fact that likely should be considered by newcomers who take advantage of the buffer period before the new cost-of-living criteria comes into effect.

Spend time studying abroad which counts to your Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Along with the previous announcement, IRCC also declared their intention to extend the facilitative measure allowing international students to study at Canadian post-secondary schools from abroad—with the time spent studying outside of Canada still counting toward their PGWPs. The PGWP is Canada’s official work pathway for international graduates and is issued with the same validity as the length of a student’s program of study (for a maximum of three years).

Under this measure, students may continue to count their time remote learning towards their PGWP eligibility provided that:

  • Less than 50% of a student’s total time in their program of study is spent remote learning from outside of Canada; and
  • The program of study begins before September 1st, 2024.

Due to this, international students applying for their study permits in December may be best placed to take advantage of these distanced learning abilities (provided that their school and faculty of study allow this), further potentially saving money on room and board, food, and other basic expenses by living at home.

What do I need to apply for a study permit?

In order to be eligible for a study permit, students must:

Is there a way to expedite my study permit application?

Due to potentially long wait times, IRCC has instituted a secondary stream for study permits, known as the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

This stream is only open to applicants from certain countries, and has its own set of eligibility criteria, which students must meet to be eligible for a study permit. IRCC’s processing standard for these applications is within 20 calendar days; making the SDS a key study permit stream for those eligible, and who require a study permit quickly.

Applying with expertise

While study permit applications may seem relatively straightforward, their approval process can be trickier than anticipated, with immigration officers given room to exercise their judgment on how applications meet eligibility criteria. It is (for example) possible for students to include all required documentation and meet admissibility standards, but still have their application rejected if immigration officers do not feel they will leave Canada at the end of their stay.

For this reason, many individuals choose to hire an immigration lawyer, to advise them on best practices to maximise their chances of approval and to represent their interests to the government. The Cohen Immigration Law Firm has over 40 years of experience in helping international students arrive in Canada to start or continue their studies.

Discover your options to study in Canada

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