Considering a 30-Hour Work Policy for International Students | CIN
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Canadian Government Considering a 30-Hour Work Policy for International Students

Austin Campbell

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Work Policy for International Students

In an aim to enhance the prospects for Canadian international students, the Immigration Minister recently announced a series of measures at the outset of 2024. These changes included various aspects, from an increased cost of living to the introduction of a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) requirement.

While these modifications are aimed at benefiting upcoming cohorts of international students, concerns have been raised regarding alterations to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP). Despite the debates surrounding these changes, a glimmer of hope emerged for international students.

Minister Marc Miller announced the extension of the full-time work policy for international students until the end of April 2024. This extension primarily addresses the dependency of eligible students on working more than 20 hours a week to meet their expenses. Notably, the announcement hinted at the consideration of increasing weekly working hours for international students up to 30 hours.

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Who Qualifies for Full-Time Work Until April 2024?

Former Immigration Minister Sean Fraser had previously introduced a temporary policy allowing international students meeting specific criteria to work more than 20 hours per week. While there was no cap on the number of hours, certain eligibility criteria were in place. This policy remains in effect until April 30, 2024.

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To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

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  1. If the study permit application (or extension) was received by IRCC by October 7, 2022.
  2. If you are a full-time student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with a study permit (or part-time if it’s your last semester of study).
  3. If, despite the expiration of your study permit, you have maintained your status and are enrolled full-time (or part-time if it’s your last semester) in classes at a DLI.

Additionally, if the study permit application (or extension) was received by IRCC between October 8, 2022, and December 7, 2023, you may work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week between January 1, 2024, and April 30, 2024, if you meet the above criteria.

However, individuals who submitted a Canada study permit application or extension to IRCC after December 7, 2023, are ineligible to work more than 20 hours.

Prospects of 30-Hour Work Policy

The new reforms introduced by Immigration Minister Marc Miller may be seen as somewhat bitter medicine, but they are designed to benefit everyone, including international students. With Canada setting caps on international students annually, these changes aim to compensate for the reduction in PGWPs and spousal open work permits (SOWPs).

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The official statement from IRCC indicates that the increase in working hours to 30 will “set up international students for success.” As the landscape of Canadian international students, PGWP, and SOWP transforms, the extended working hours present an opportunity for reduced foreign student entries due to the new reforms.

In a nutshell, the consideration of a 30-hour work policy shows a strategic move to balance the scales and provide Canadian international students with enhanced opportunities. As we go through these changes, it remains crucial for students and stakeholders to stay informed and adapt to the evolving landscape.

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