This morning, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that international students who are in Canada and have off-campus work authorization on their study permits would be allowed to work over 20 hours per week while studying.
“International students are, in my opinion, enriched and contribute to Canada in so many different ways. […] Many are also part of our labour force, who gain valuable Canadian work experience when they study and help businesses grow,” Fraser stated.
This new policy will come into effect on November 15, 2022, until December 31, 2023. This temporary measure will also apply to foreign nationals who have already submitted a study permit application.
Study permit holders are expected to balance their studies and work commitments. Those who stop studying or reduce course loads to only study part-time are not eligible to work off-campus.
The measure will provide many international students with a more significant opportunity to gain valuable work experience in Canada. It will also increase the availability of workers to sustain Canada’s post-pandemic growth.
Why was the new policy put in place for international students?
The government of Canada is progressively taking action to address the current labour needs. The country is seeing historic labour shortages and an unemployment rate low by historical standards.
Statistics Canada reported that Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 5.2 per cent in September, down from 5.4 per cent in August.
The economy is growing at a faster rate than employers can hire new workers. Fraser mentioned this morning that Canada needs to look at every option in order to have the skills and workforce needed to fuel the country’s growth.
“Immigration will be crucial to addressing our labour shortage. By allowing international students to work more while they study, we can help ease pressing needs in many sectors across the country, while providing more opportunities for international students to gain valuable Canadian work experience and continue contributing to our short-term recovery and long-term prosperity,” Sean Fraser
There are more than 500,000 international students already in Canada available to potentially work additional hours. This temporary change reflects international students’ critical role in addressing our labour shortage.
Canada’s continued efforts to support international students
Today’s announcement is part of a series of initiatives that aim to benefit international students and graduates. At the same time, these efforts help support Canada’s broader efforts to improve client service and application processing times.
This month, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also launching a pilot project to automate the processing of study permit extensions.
The applications included in this pilot contain consistently high approval rates. The pilot will involve a small group of applicants who could see their extended study permit processed much faster. The goal is to improve client service.
Should the pilot be successful, it will expand in order to help reduce processing times and allow officers to focus on more complex applications.
Other measures recently launched to benefit international students, and recent graduates include:
- A transition period for those studying online from abroad
- An opportunity for those with expired or expiring post-graduation work permits to get an additional 18-month open work permit.
With unprecedented interest in Canada from applicants around the world, the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continues to set the bar higher for immigration processing.
Why choose to study in Canada as an international student?
Canada is among the worlds leading destinations for international students. In 2021, it hosted over 620,000 international students, a figure that has tripled over the past two decades.
Fraser mentioned this morning that Canada has already processed more than 452,000 study permit applications between January and August 2022, a 23 per cent increase compared to the 367,000 processed in 2021.
In addition, the Canadian Bureau of International Educated (CBIE) reported that the majority of international students are interested in remaining in Canada as permanent residents upon completing their studies.
The top three reasons the CBIE found why international students choose Canada as a study destination are:
- The quality of the Canadian education system.
- Canada’s reputation as a tolerant, non-discriminatory society.
- Canada’s reputation as a safe country.
Additionally, a majority of respondents cited the opportunity to work during and after their studies as a critical driver for deciding to study in Canada.
With today’s announcement of available full-time work hours being offered to international students, mana immigration can only imagine the number of new applicants will skyrocket.
Are you interested in getting approved for a study permit to learn at Canada’s universities or colleges? Click here to fill out one of our assessment forms, and one of our trusted staff members will help you through the process.