According to the country’s immigration minister, international students studying in Canada are now able to qualify to work more hours off campus as the country continues to face labor shortages.
Sean Fraser, speaking at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, said that beginning Nov. 15, a prior limit of 20 hours per week that qualified students enrolled in full-time studies were permitted to work off campus will no longer apply.
The unemployment rate in Canada was 5.4% in July, down from a high of 6.0% in April 2022. As of July, Canadian employers were actively seeking to fill nearly 1 million positions.
“There’s more job opportunities than there are workers in almost every community in Canada,” Fraser told reporters, contributing that although some international students will work in service industry jobs, he hopes some will find work in their field of study.
The new policy, which will be in effect from November 15 to the end of 2023, will only apply to full-time students, he said.
Students have voiced concerns that the 20-hour limit exposes them to exploitation because many end up working more hours without protections. Lifting the cap will provide students with more employment options, making them less likely to fall victim to “disreputable employers.”
New Pilot Program for International Students
Furthermore, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada is launching a new pilot program to help automate the processing of study permit extension applications.
However, no applications will be automatically rejected under this program, according to Fraser, who added that only immigration officers have the authority to do so.
The announcement comes in the midst of visa delays that have left thousands of international students stranded before the start of the academic year.
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