Indian and Canadian Banks Collaborate to Serve Indian Students in Canada
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Indian and Canadian Banks Collaborate to Serve Indian Students in Canada

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Toronto Dominion (TD) Bank and India's HDFC Bank have initiated a collaboration aimed at providing financial services to Indian students pursuing higher education in Canada. This partnership entails HDFC Bank referring students interested in Canadian institutions to TD Bank, facilitating their compliance with the study permit pathway requirements recently introduced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The referral will pertain to TD’s International Student GIC Programme. A release from TD explained, “As part of the Canadian government’s requirements to apply for an expedited study permit, students are required to provide proof of financial support, which is accomplished via a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution. The TD International Student GIC Program is designed to enable students to open accounts digitally and help them meet their study visa and living expense requirements”.

GICs, akin to fixed deposits or FDs in India, serve as financial instruments. Canada receives a significant number of international students from India, with over 425,000 holding study permits last year, making it the largest source country. “With this expanded relationship, HDFC Bank and TD can provide the financial offerings that will make for a smoother transition to the Canadian banking environment”, TD’s Executive Vice-President of Canadian Personal Banking Sona Mehta said.

“The association is designed to support the study permit requirements of Indian students planning to study in Canada. The curated programme also offers a wide range of financial benefits to amplify their living experience while studying there”, HDFC’s Group Head Retail Branch Banking Smita Bhagat added. The release highlighted that GICs can be initiated online without any application fees, and they begin accruing interest even before the student's arrival in Canada.

In December 2023, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that for new study permit applications received on or after January 1 of the same year, a single applicant will be required to demonstrate that they have CA$20,635 (approximately Rs 12.7 lakhs) in funds, as compared to the previous requirement of CA$10,000 (about Rs 6.14 lakhs). Explaining the increase, it stated, “The cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants has not changed since the early 2000s, when it was set at $10,000 for a single applicant. As such, the financial requirement hasn’t kept up with the cost of living over time, resulting in students arriving in Canada only to learn that their funds aren’t adequate". The cost-of-living fund is deposited via wire transfer into a GIC account at a designated Canadian bank.