Liberals double income requirement for international students, targeting ‘puppy mill’ schools

By The Canadian Press and Charlie Carey

Immigration Minister Marc Miller says Ottawa will require foreigners applying to study in Canada to have double the amount of funds currently needed.

Miller says the change is among those meant to ensure international students aren’t left vulnerable to “sketchy employers” and unable to afford life in Canada.

He is also warning provinces that the Liberals might limit visas if colleges and universities don’t adequately support students, but he tells reporters that governments need to have more conversations before such changes.

Miller likened some colleges to puppy mills, in that they provide foreigners with an inadequate education while giving them a chance to get a visa to work in Canada and to eventually immigrate.

The Liberals are also ramping down a policy that lengthened the time graduating international students could work in Canada without an employment visa.

Miller said Canada will look at offering some sort of support for foreigners who are unable to study in Canada as a result of the new income requirements.

In a statement, the Migrant Students United (MSU) —an organization that pushes for full immigration status for former and current international students — says the doubling of the financial requirement for study permits effectively creates a cap and excludes “prospective working-class students worldwide who will now be scrambling in the next three weeks to find an extra $10,000 dollars.”

MSU national organizer Sarom Rho described federal immigration policy as a “roller coaster,” that includes “monthly improvisations and chaotic twists that let exploitation and abuse continue.”

Rho stated that the change to visa requirements abolishing the option to renew a post-graduate work visa will mean people will need to apply for permanent residency, “even as the minimum score … skyrocketed to 561 two days ago.”

“Thousands of graduated students doing essential jobs in low-wage industries are not able to count their crucial work toward permanent resident applications and will be forced to leave or become undocumented,” Rho said.

One former international student said the proof of funds move is “a cruel decision that most of us cannot afford.”

“When I came to study in 2019, my family had to take out loans, which we still have to pay back with interest, for the $10,000 minimum. Doubling that to over $20,000 is cruel, it will shatter the dreams of so many students and families around the world,” Dev Kamboj, a former student at Conestoga College, said.

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