Making Sense of Recent Announcements about Changes to the Study Permit/International Students Program

**The following information was updated March 27, 2024**

Over the last several months, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has made a number of announcements about changes being made to Canada’s International Student Program and Study Permit Application Requirements. Below is a summary of the main changes. More information can be found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, or by contacting our legal clinic.

New Intake Caps

The Government of Canada announced that for 2024 and 2025, there will be intake caps on the number of new Study Permit applications. IRCC will allocate a portion of the cap to each province and territory, who will then distribute the allocation among their designated learning institutions. For 2024, the cap is expected to result in an estimated 360,000 approved applications (decrease of 35% from 2023). The cap for 2025 has not been set yet.

Financial Requirements

As of January 1, 2024, there has been a change to the amount of money an applicant is required to have in order to satisfy the ‘cost-of-living’ requirement of the application. For 2024, an applicant must show that they have $20,635 in available funds, on top of their first-year’s tuition and travel expenses. This amounts to 75% of the Low Income Cut-Off. The change is an increase from the $10,000 that has been required for a number of years.  The required funds will be adjusted annually, using the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) numbers, to reflect the true cost of living.

Attestation Letters

*Update – some, but not all, Provinces have now implemented processes on how applicants can acquire the Attestation Letters. IRCC is regularly updating their website with these instructions, as they become available.

Study permit: Get the right documents –

As of January 22, 2024, study permit applicants now need to provide a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from the province in which they intend to study, as part of their application. Instructions on how student can acquire these letters is still outstanding. Provinces have been directed to have a process in place by March 31, 2024. More information should be available from IRCC, as the provinces move towards this deadline. PAL’s are not required for those applying for study permits for the elementary or secondary school level, for Master’s or Doctorate programs, and for persons already in Canada applying to extend a permit.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility

*Update – This change will take effect on May 15, 2024, rather than the previously announced date of September 1, 2024.

Starting September 1, 2024, there will be changes to which students are eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Students who were attending Private Colleges licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated Public College as part of a Curriculum Licensing Arrangement will no longer be eligible to receive a PGWP when they complete their studies. For students interested in determining if their chosen Designated Learning Institution or Program of Study will leave them eligible for a PGWP, they should visit the IRCC website or contact their local legal clinic.

Accompanying Family Members

*Update – This change came into effect on March 19, 2024.

Spouses/partners of International Students will soon no longer be eligible for an Open Work Permit as an accompanying family member, unless the student is enrolled in a Masters of Doctorate program.  A start date for the change in eligibility has not yet been announced.

For more information about recent and coming changes to the International Student Program or how to apply for a Study Permit, please visit the IRCC Website or please call our Intake Line at 416-441-1764 ext.1.

How To: Study permit –

Backgrounder on Changes: Making Canada’s International Student Program sustainable –

This is legal information and not legal advice. If you need further information or need legal advice, please call our Intake Line at 416-441-1764 ext. 1 or complete our online Intake Form.