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Here is my opinion as an international student

I decided to write this article on behalf of the international students who will not be able to leave their countries in order to improve their lives and secure the future of their families, as I was fortunate enough to do.

In 2024, new regulations came into effect for students from outside Canada, doubling the amount of money that a student must demonstrate they have. A single applicant will need to prove that they have $20,635, which is 75 per cent of the low-income limit, in addition to their first year’s tuition and travel costs. The change applies to new study permit applications received on or after January 1.

When I made the decision to come to Canada, I had to request three loans: two from banks and one from a family member who believed in my endeavours. Additionally, I had to pay $8,790 for my first semester, several times what a domestic student would have paid. This amount represented almost 65 per cent of the total of my three loans.

When I arrived in Canada, I had to rely on food banks for four months to provide myself with food, demonstrating that I was “poor” enough to access them. I arrived in March 2021 and spent 15 days in a basement waiting for my Covid-19 results to arrive from the airport. Unfortunately, those results never arrived.

I couldn’t leave for almost three weeks until I reached a point of desperation being in another country, away from my family, and witnessing my meagre savings being drained due to the incompetence of the people who conducted my COVID test.

The money I brought to Canada could have bought two houses in Bogotá, and I would have lived without having to worry about working for four months. Or I could have covered the costs of all four of my brothers’ degrees. However, only Santiago, my younger brother, and I have completed postgraduate degrees to date.

Furthermore, on January 22, the Canadian government implemented three additional measures, making it even harder for international students to come to Canada.

For instance, only graduates of master’s and other postgraduate programs will be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) of up to three years. Secondly, programs taught by private institutions licensed to offer the curriculum of a partner public institution will not be eligible for the PGWP. Lastly, Open Work Permits will only be available to partners of international students enrolled in Master’s and Doctorate programs.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), only 360,000 study permits will be extended by 2024. This marks a decrease of 35 per cent compared to 2023. This is where my concern and bewilderment regarding the government’s extreme measures stems from.

Coming to Canada to study will be more complicated. Previously, if you had the money and obtained visa approval, you could come to Canada. However, the process has become even more stringent, as only individuals aiming to pursue master’s degrees and doctorates will benefit from a study visa.

At Mohawk College, 34 per cent of international students are the first in their family to attend postsecondary education.

It is disheartening to consider that somewhere in the world, there is a person like me, or like any other international student, with the dream of migrating, but who now must wait to amass $20,635 and complete an undergraduate degree before being able to pursue a postgraduate degree in Canada.






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