An Indian-origin man who was arrested and recently charged with extortion threats targeting South Asian businesses in Canada, has claimed his innocence, saying police are wrongly portraying him as a high-level gangster.
Canada has made a big decision which will affect the incoming international students, including those from India. It has more than doubled up the financial prerequisite for ‘cost-of-living’ upon entering the country on a study visa.
Effective January 1, the ‘cost-of-living’ factor, known as the “Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC),” has surged from 10,000 Canadian dollars (approximately Rs 6.14 lakh) to $20,635 (around Rs 12.67 lakh) per applicant. Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller emphasized that “prospective students will now need to demonstrate access to $20,635 compared to the $10,000 requirement in place for two decades.”
In 2022, India led among the top 10 countries with study permit holders in Canada, hosting a total of 3.19 lakh students, predominantly from Punjab and other northern states.
The heightened expenses, compounded by the strengthening of the dollar against the rupee and the doubled GIC, have significantly increased the financial pressure on students. The anticipated migration cost, which previously ranged from Rs 15 to 16 lakh, has now surged to Rs 25 to 26 lakh for a single applicant.
Economist and former University of Northern British Columbia professor Amarjit Bhullar remarked that students heading to Canada have faced a dual setback. “Not only has the cost-of-living requirement doubled, but Canadian authorities have also indicated a cap on working hours,” Bhullar noted.
According to a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), international students already in Canada or those who applied for a study permit by December 7, 2023, will be permitted to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week until April 30, 2024.
Bhullar raised concerns about the revised GIC potentially leading to exploitation by private money lenders in Punjab.
“The Canadian dollar has seen a substantial rise in the past two years. Previously, parents could secure a bank loan against property. But with the increased GIC requirement, obtaining a bank loan won’t be easy, potentially leading people to fall into the trap of private lenders charging exorbitant interest rates,” he cautioned.