Canada's move to more than double the cost-of-living requirement for incoming international students will put an additional financial burden on people sending their children to study in that country, several aspirants' parents in Punjab said.
They added that the decision has come as a big blow as they will now need to borrow more from banks or informal sources to arrange the funds to send their children to study in Canada.
Canada will more than double the cost-of-living financial requirement for incoming international students beginning January 1, Immigration Minister Marc Miller has announced, a move that will impact the arrival of foreign students in the country, including from India.
Starting next year, prospective students will need to show they have access to CAD 20,635 instead of the current requirement of CAD 10,000 -- a limit that had been in place for two decades -- in addition to paying for travel and tuition.
India was first among the top 10-origin countries for study permit holders in 2022 in Canada, with 319,000 students.
Miller said the financial requirement had not kept up with the cost of living over time, resulting in students arriving in Canada only to learn that they did not have adequate funds.
This change will apply to new study permit applications received on or after January 1.
Canada is among the preferred destinations for people from Punjab to study and settle down.
In Punjab, Moga-based immigration consultancy services representative Rashpal Singh Sosan said the expense to send students to Canada will rise by around Rs 6.50 lakh in the immediate aftermath of the Canadian government's decision to hike the cost-of-living financial requirement -- known as the Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).
Parents will now have to arrange for more funds to send their children to Canada, he added.
Kapurthala-based Amandeep Singh, whose daughter aspires to study engineering in Canada, said he will now have to borrow more funds from the banks to realise her dreams.
It is definitely an additional burden on the pocket of every parent whose children want to go to Canada for higher studies, he said.
Ludhiana-based Sohan Singh said this move will put a big dent on the pockets of middle-class parents whose children want to move to Canada.
"It will take a big chunk out of my pocket to fulfil the desire of my son, who is preparing to study there," he said.
In Hoshiarpur, Surinder Kaur, the mother of a student who wishes to study in Canada, also expressed concern over the increase in the GIC amount.
At the same time, she said the Canadian government's decision will allow international students to meet their living expenses given that there are limited work opportunities for them.
Suresh Kumar, a Ludhiana-based student who wants to study in Canada, said it will be difficult for middle-class parents to arrange for additional funds to send their children to Canada.
With the new rules being implemented from January 1, many students and their parents are approaching immigration consultancies to expedite their files related to studies in Canada before December 31 to save themselves from the impact of the GIC hike.
Rahul Dangar, the representative of a Kapurthala-based immigration consultancy, said more than 40 students have approached their centre to expedite their cases since the Canadian government's announcement on the increase in cost-of-living financial requirement.
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