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Canada Unveils New Work Rules for International Students

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Canada has recently announced updates to its off-campus work policies for international students, signalling changes in immigration rules. These adjustments, initiated by Immigration Minister Marc Miller, aim to balance the needs of international students with the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.

New Work Hour Regulations

Effective from the fall academic semester of the current year, international students in Canada will now be allowed to work up to 24 hours per week during the academic term. This marks a departure from the previous temporary measure, which permitted students to work beyond the standard 20-hour limit.

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Key Points for International Students

New Limit: Effective September 2024, international students can work up to 24 hours per week off-campus while attending classes full-time.

Previous Policy: A temporary measure in effect from October 2022 to April 2024 allowed unlimited off-campus work hours.

Unlimited Hours During Breaks: Students can still work unlimited hours during scheduled academic breaks, provided they are enrolled to return to full-time studies in the following semester.

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Eligibility Criteria for Off-Campus Work

International students wishing to work off-campus during the academic year must meet specific requirements:

  1. Valid Study Permit: Students must hold a valid study permit issued by Canadian authorities.
  2. Full-Time Enrollment: Enrollment in a full-time program at a designated learning institution (DLI) is mandatory.
  3. Academic Standing: Students must maintain satisfactory academic standing throughout their studies.
  4. Program Duration: The academic, vocational, or professional training program must be at least six months long and lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  5. Social Insurance Number (SIN): Possession of a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) is essential for employment eligibility.

Also Read: 8 Ways to Study in Canada Without a Study Permit

Rationale Behind the Changes

Minister Miller clarified that the decision to maintain the work limit at 24 hours per week is rooted in considerations for students’ academic performance. Working beyond this threshold, as previously proposed (30 hours per week), could adversely affect students’ ability to excel in their studies.

Financial Considerations

The adjustment to 24 hours aligns with an increased cost of living requirements for international students, as announced in December. To obtain a study permit, applicants must demonstrate financial stability, with a minimum savings threshold of $20,635 in addition to tuition costs.

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Changes to Canada’s International Student Program

This new policy is part of a broader effort by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to strengthen the integrity of the international student program. Other recent changes include:

  • Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL): Students now need a PAL from the province where their DLI is located to obtain a study permit.
  • Trusted Institutions Framework: IRCC is implementing a framework to identify DLIs with a proven track record of supporting international students.

Must Read: Canada Updates Language Testing Rules for Student Visas and PR Applications

Conclusion

Canada’s recent updates to off-campus work policies for international students reflect a commitment to balancing educational pursuits with immigration integrity. These changes aim to support students while safeguarding the integrity of the immigration system, ensuring that international students contribute positively to Canada’s academic landscape.


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