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"Enough is enough": Canada doubles student visa financial onus to curb frauds

Ottawa: Canada's Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, announced a substantial increase in the financial criteria for international students applying for study permits, emphasising the government's commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the education system, CBC reported.
Miller also issued a stern warning, threatening to "significantly limit visas" if provinces and educational institutions fail to take appropriate actions before the upcoming fall term.
The decision also extends the temporary lift on the 20-hour work limit for international students, now extended until April 30, 2024. Miller outlined the government's concerns about potential abuse in the system, targeting both questionable employers and institutions that may not be providing a genuine educational experience, according to Canadian public broadcaster CBC.
During a news conference, Miller expressed concerns about certain educational institutions operating as "puppy mills" and emphasised the need to address fraud and abuse within the system.
He said, "There are, in provinces, the diploma equivalent of puppy mills that are just churning out diplomas, and this is not a legitimate student experience."
The increased financial requirement for prospective students will be raised to USD 20,635, doubling the longstanding USD 10,000 threshold. This change aims to ensure that international students have sufficient funds to cover living costs in addition to travel and tuition expenses. The amount will be adjusted annually based on Statistics Canada benchmarks for living costs.
Miller highlighted the need for learning institutions to responsibly manage the number of international students they accept, considering their ability to provide housing or assistance in finding off-campus accommodation.
"We could potentially miss the mark. Provinces have a number of tools at their disposal, namely the regulation of the designated learning institutions, that in some cases just need to be shut down," Miller also said.
The move is intended to address concerns about international students facing challenges in finding suitable housing and being forced into exploitative jobs, according to CBC
"It's why we expect learning institutions to only accept a number of (international) students that they're able to provide for -- able to house, or assist in finding off-campus housing," he added.
The minister emphasised the government's commitment to protecting international students from potential vulnerabilities and exploitation.
Miller also stressed the importance of collaborative efforts with provinces, urging them to take proactive measures.
However, he made it clear that if provinces fail to act, the federal government is prepared to intervene, stating, "Enough is enough. If provinces and territories cannot do this, we will do it for them, and they will not like the bluntness of the instruments that we use."
Miller acknowledged the need for further discussions with provinces before any potential visa caps are implemented, recognising the various tools available to them for regulation, including the possible closure of designated learning institutions that may not meet necessary standards.
"We could potentially miss the mark. Provinces have a number of tools at their disposal -- namely the regulation of the designated learning institutions, that in some cases just need actually to be shut down," CBC quoted the Canadian minister as saying.

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