In a move to address the increasing labour shortages across the country, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced an extension of its temporary policy, allowing certain international students to work beyond the typical 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus employment.
Temporary Policy Extension of Off-Campus Work
Initially introduced in 2022, the temporary policy permitted eligible international students to engage in full-time off-campus employment (40 hours per week) to alleviate labour shortages.
The policy, set to expire on December 31, 2023, has now been extended until April 30, 2024, according to the recent announcement made by IRCC on December 7, 2023.
- Previously set to expire on December 31, 2023, the policy will now be in effect until April 30, 2024.
- This allows eligible students to work full-time (40 hours per week) off-campus.
- Before this policy, international students could only work up to 20 hours per week during the school year.
Impact on International Students in Canada
This extension provides relief to international students, allowing them to continue working beyond the usual limitations, and enabling them to better manage financial pressures.
While the policy is not made permanent, many students in Canada welcome the decision, as articulated by an international student from Ecuador in a CBC story from November, stating that full-time work “allows us to get more money and not have that financial burden, or worry so much about money.”
Eligibility Criteria for Extended Work Hours
To qualify for the extended work hours, international students must meet specific criteria:
- Attend in-person classes at their Canadian post-secondary institution (not online from abroad).
- Possess off-campus work authorization included on their study permit.
- International students are already in Canada.
- Applicants who submitted a study permit application by December 7, 2023.
- Have off-campus work authorization included on their study permit.
Students who submitted a study permit application as of October 7, 2022, have also been able to benefit from the removal of the restriction on off-campus work hours.
Future Considerations by IRCC
As part of the recent announcement, IRCC mentioned that they will continue to explore options for this policy in the future. While no concrete measures have been implemented yet, there is speculation about potentially expanding off-campus work hours for international students to 30 hours per week during class sessions, providing further flexibility compared to the current 20-hour limit.
In conclusion, the extension of the temporary policy by IRCC offers a reprieve for eligible international students in Canada, allowing them to cope with financial challenges and contribute to addressing the country’s labour shortages.