Canada Lifts Limits on Hours per Week International Students Can Work

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On October 7, 2022, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new measure affecting international students in Canada. Starting November 15, 2022, and continuing throughout 2023, international students with off-campus work authorization on their study permit will be able to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week during their studies.

This is huge news for international students in Canada, many of whom rely on working part-time jobs while studying to help pay their tuition, cover their living costs, and gain vital experience working in their field. 

The 20 Hour Weekly Limit, Lifted

Typically, international students in Canada are only permitted to work off-campus for 20 hours per week during regular school semesters

This limit is usually set to encourage students to focus on their studies. However, not all students, programs of study, or situations are the same. Many students find they have extra capacity, or their current course workload allows them enough flexibility to spend more time at their off-campus jobs. This new measure gives them the freedom to do so.

The new measure will apply to the over 500,000 international students who are already studying in Canada, and those who have submitted their study permit application and are planning to begin their studies in Canada shortly. 

As an international student in Canada, you can work more weekly hours off-campus between November 15, 2022 and December 21, 2023 as long as you meet these requirements: 

  • You’re a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
    • Or you’re a former full-time student, now part-time student, in your final semester of study completing your program
  • You’re enrolled in a qualifying post-secondary program of study that is at least 6 months long 
  • Your program leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • You’ve begun your studies 
  • You have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) 
  • You have off-campus work authorization on your study permit

Benefits for International Students 

In addition to helping Canada’s current labour shortages, this measure also provides a lot of important benefits for international students:

  • Students can earn more weekly income, helping them pay for tuition, living expenses, and other fees
  • This gives students new opportunities to gain work experience in their field, preparing them for career success later (whether in their home country or in Canada itself) 
  • The opportunity to gain more experience now gives students a better chance of working in Canada full-time later, with a Post-Graduate Work Permit 
  • Working allows students to network and develop key relationships, opening new doors to career success later on

“As Canada and the IRCC continue to catch up on its international student application backlog, this is great news for students. These policy changes are sure to be welcome news for students, their parents, and employers across Canada, making it an important improvement that will keep Canada top of mind for international students and competitive as a nation looking to attract top talent.”

If this measure is successful, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (the IRCC) signalled they are open to making future updates to how many hours international students can regularly work during their study period. 

With Canada expanding these working opportunities, it’s clear how much the country values its international students. Those studying in Canada can be assured they’re supported both throughout their studies, and after graduation too. 

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