The government of Canada today announced the lifting of restrictions on the number of hours international students can work as the country struggles with the labour shortage. This development brings succour to many Nigerians who are currently studying in the country and those still in Nigeria considering studying in Canada as their ‘Japa’ route as they will be able to work for more hours while studying in the country.
Until now, those on student visas in Canada are not allowed to work for more than 20 hours a week when schools are in session.
However, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Honourable Sean Fraser, today said the restriction has been lifted, although temporarily. According to him, from November 15, 2022, until December 31, 2023, international students who are in Canada and who have off-campus work authorization on their study permit will not be restricted by the 20-hour-per-week rule.
Foreign nationals who have already submitted a study permit application, as of today, will also be able to benefit from this temporary change, provided their application is approved.
What they are saying
Fraser in a statement released by the government of Canada today, said: “This measure will provide many international students with a greater opportunity to gain valuable work experience in Canada, and will increase the availability of workers to sustain Canada’s post-pandemic growth.
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“With more than 500,000 international students already in Canada available to potentially work additional hours, this temporary change reflects the important role international students can play in addressing our labour shortage, while continuing to pursue their studies. Study permit holders are still expected to balance their study and work commitments, as those who stop studying or reduce course loads to only study part-time are not eligible to work off-campus,” he added.
He also disclosed that “This month, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also launching a pilot project to automate the processing of study permit extensions. The types of applications being included in this pilot have a consistently high approval rate, as all applicants have previously been approved to study in Canada. The pilot will involve a small group of applicants who could see their extended study permit processed much faster, with the goal of improving client service. Should the pilot be successful, it will be expanded in order to help reduce processing times and allow officers to focus on more complex applications.”
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What you should know
Employers in Canada are facing unprecedented challenges in finding and retaining the workers they need during this period of economic recovery and growth.
Lifting of the work restriction is part of the actions the Government of Canada is taking to address the labour crisis.
Other measures recently launched to benefit international students and recent graduates include:
a transition period for those studying online from abroad
an opportunity for those with expired or expiring post-graduation work permits to get an additional 18-month open work permit.