Bad News for International Students Planning to Work in Canada

International students in Canada experienced a temporary relaxation of the 20-hours per week off-campus work restriction. However, with imminent changes to the Work Permit Rules for Students, this privilege is set to expire.

Until November 15, 2022, foreign students with valid study permits were permitted to engage in unlimited off-campus work during scheduled school breaks and full-time during regular semesters. Nevertheless, this flexibility will conclude on December 31, 2023, reverting international students to the conventional 20-hour limit.

Implications of the Change

Students who depend on off-campus work for income or career advancement must take note of the impending deadline. According to the new work permit rules for international students starting January 1, 2024, surpassing the 20-hour limit without proper authorization could jeopardize their study permits and legal status in Canada.

Eligibility for Extended Work Hours

While the window for unlimited work hours is closing, certain students may still qualify for extended work privileges under specific conditions:

Study Permit Applied on or Before October 7, 2022

Students with study permits applied on or before October 7, 2022, must meet the following criteria to work more than 20 hours per week off-campus:

    • Hold a valid study permit.
    • Study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) full-time (or part-time if in the final academic semester) with an expired study permit but maintained status.
    • Approved for a study permit but haven’t arrived in Canada yet.

Additionally, students must be in Canada or re-enter Canada by December 31, 2023, and have specific conditions on their study permits allowing extended off-campus work.

Study Permit Applied After October 7, 2022

For those applying to extend study permits that expire between November 15, 2022, and December 31, 2023, the following conditions apply:

    • Have applied for the original study permit extension on or before October 7, 2022.
    • Hold a valid study permit and study at a DLI full-time (or part-time if in the final academic semester).
    • Be in Canada or re-enter Canada by December 31, 2023.
    • Have specific conditions on the study permit allowing extended off-campus work.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be in Canada or have re-entered Canada by December 31, 2023.
  • Be a study permit holder.
  • Be studying at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) full-time (or part-time if in the final academic semester).
  • Have one of the following conditions printed on the study permit: “May work 20 hours per week off campus or full-time during regular breaks” or “May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria.”

Adherence to Conditions and Implications

Strict adherence to these conditions is crucial for students and their employers before commencing off-campus work. Failure to meet eligibility criteria may result in students having to leave Canada.

Important Reminders

Students and employers must ensure eligibility before exceeding the 20-hour limit. Non-compliance with work permit rules could lead to serious consequences, including study permit cancellation and potential deportation.

Looking Ahead

International students affected by the reinstated 20-hour limit are encouraged to explore alternative options for income generation or career development within the allowable timeframe. Seeking guidance from immigration advisors or career counselors can be beneficial in navigating these changes and securing future employment opportunities.

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