International Students in Canada Will Soon Be Able to Work More Than 20 Hours Per Week
The Canadian government announced a change allowing international students to work more hours.
Here's a spot of good news for international students in Canada: you'll soon be able to work more than 20 hours per week while in school.
Currently, international students are restricted to a maximum of 20 hours per week of paid work during the semester. Full-time hours can only be worked during holidays and semester breaks. These limited part-time hours may be suitable for most students, but some have advocated for more freedom and choice in how they spend their time outside of class. For example, groups like Migrant Students United have protested in favour of more flexibility for international students.
Well, that flexibility is on its way.
Starting on November 15, 2022, as part of a new pilot project, the federal government will allow around 500,000 eligible international students to work more than 20 hours a week, should they choose to do so. The pilot runs through the end of 2023, so the government will have just over a year of data by which to judge the results.
The new rules are aimed at improving labour mobility, combatting rising prices, and offering international students a chance to earn more Canadian work experience.
You can check out this short CBC video of Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, making the announcement here.
How do I get permission to work extra hours as an international student?
Your current status will determine whether you're eligible to be part of this pilot project.
I'm a current international student in Canada
If you're already an international student, you're automatically a part of the upcoming program. Starting on November 15, you'll be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week during the semester. You don't need to do anything special.
I've already applied for a study permit
If you've applied for a study permit to come to Canada, but you haven't heard back yet, you're still eligible for the expanded program. If you receive your study permit, and come to Canada, you'll be able to work more than 20 hours a week during the semester.
I haven't applied for my study permit yet
Unfortunately, you won't be considered for part of this pilot project. Only current international students, and people who submitted a study permit application on or before October 7, 2022, will be considered. New international applicants will be subject to the standard rules: a maximum of 20 hours per week during the semester, with unlimited hours during holidays and semester breaks.
Student advocate groups are praising this decision as a step in the right direction. In 2019, international student Jobandeep Singh Sandhu was deported for working too many hours. This new pilot project is aimed at preventing the same from happening to other students.
Some critics of the policy worry about whether students will get a strong education if they're focused on working full-time. Students should concentrate on school, not employment, as the main goal is always to graduate with a degree, diploma, or certificate. But if international students need to take on extra hours to make ends meet, at least they won't run the risk of deportation for doing so!
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Read the news release for more details