International students can now work more than 20 hours per week in Canada
International students in Canada now can work more hours while pursuing their studies, according to the recent announcement from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). From November 15, 2022, to December 31, 2023, the number of authorised off-campus work hours for international students will no longer be capped at 20 hours per week. Foreign nationals who have already submitted a study permit application will also benefit from this temporary change, once their application is approved.
The opportunity to work while studying is a priority for a significant proportion of international students in 2022. Canada’s 20-hour per week restriction is usually only lifted during breaks such as summer and winter holidays, but with the country’s record high inflation rate and rising cost of living, many international students have been urging for an increase in the number of working hours allowed off-campus. The rising inflation is hitting international students particularly hard since their tuition fees are often higher than those of Canadian nationals. But now that they are allowed to work more hours, they have much greater opportunities to earn money and pay off their tuition fees and living costs.
Why is Canada lifting the 20-hour work limit?
The increase in the number of authorised work hours for international students is a temporary measure aimed at addressing Canada’s all-time-high labour shortages. With almost one million job vacancies, more and more Canadian employers are now turning to immigration to fill in roles — and with nearly half a million foreign students in Canada, their newfound ability to work additional hours could greatly benefit the country’s labour market, albeit temporarily.
What other opportunities do international students in Canada have?
Canada has always been a popular destination among international students, thanks to the universities’ high quality of education. The Canadian institutions are also known to offer more affordable tuition fees than other international student destinations. Canada issued nearly 450,000 new study permits last year; this is almost double the number of permits issued in 2015, easily breaking the previous all-time-high record set in 2019.
International students can continue living and working in Canada even after completing their studies. The IRCC offers these two paths for those students who wish to do so:
- Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)
- Valid for anywhere between eight months to three years, the PGWP allows international students to work for any employer in Canada. This is an excellent way to gain valuable work experience in the country and thus open more opportunities to obtain permanent Canadian residence.
- Express Entry
- Express Entry is the fastest and most popular pathway to Canadian permanent residency. Applicants are assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and then ranked against other applicants in the pool, typically favouring candidates who already have Canadian work and study experience.
Now that international students can work and earn even more while pursuing their studies, recruiters and educators can expect Canada’s popularity to rise even further as a destination for international education.