Canada Cuts Back on Alien Students by Doubling the Cash Needed for Visa

By David North on December 14, 2023

Canada, in a two-step move against the proliferation of foreign students there:

  1. Doubled the amount of money needed for an arriving student; and
  2. Threatened action against low-standard “puppy mills” for these students.

The announcement by Canada’s Immigration Minister, Mark Miller, (Liberal, Quebec) raised the cash needed for incoming alien students from the earlier CAD$10,000 (equal to about US$7,400) to CAD$20,635 (US$15,267).

This sum is in addition to the requirement that the new student pay some fees to the government, pay inward airfare, and pay for the first term’s tuition.

The new requirements are both stiffer than America’s and they are also more specific. The U.S. tells future F-1 students that they must have adequate funds for their education here, but does not set a number (though a website suggests a minimum of US$10,000).

As to the low standards of some private Canadian universities — “puppy mills” in the lingo north of the border — we run into the same situation as in America: Admission of alien students is handled by the national government, but the regulation of universities is primarily a provincial decision. Minister Miller threatened to limit foreign student admissions in certain provinces if those provinces did not crack down on the puppy mills.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has never made such a threat; its regulatory agency, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP, part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement), plays a totally passive role in this regard, trusting either states or recognized credentialing organizations to make such decisions.

On the other hand, despite grumbling about the prospect of undergraduates working 40-hour jobs, the minister allowed this to happen until April 30, 2024, on a temporary basis. The U.S. lets undergraduates work only 20 hours a week, in their first year, but allows foreign grad students to work full-time.

Meanwhile, earlier this month the United Kingdom, in a different kind of restrictive move, ruled that incoming graduate students come the new year will no longer be allowed to bring relatives with them.