Starting today, international students can temporarily work more than 20 hours per week

Edana Robitaille
Published: November 15, 2022

As of today, international students in Canada are temporarily able to work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year.

Last month, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that students would now be allowed to work more than 20 hours a week between November 15, 2022, and December 31,2023. This is a one-time measure introduced to help with Canada’s labour shortage, particularly in positions traditionally held by students such as food services, retail, and hospitality. However, there are no restrictions on the type of employment.

The new measure means that the 500,000 international students already in Canada are allowed to work more hours.

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Am I eligible to work in Canada?

Considering the price of tuition, combined with the cost of books, rent, food and transportation, many international students find themselves needing to work part-time throughout their studies to afford the necessities.

International students who arrive in Canada on a student visa are eligible to work without needing to get a work permit. Students may work off campus during an academic semester, providing they are enrolled to go back to their studies in the following semester. There is no limit to the amount of hours a student can work during an academic break, such as the winter holidays or over the summer.

You are allowed to work while studying in Canada if you:

  • hold a valid study permit;
  • Are studying full-time at a designated learning institution
  • have started studying and remain in satisfactory academic standing as determined by your institution;
  • are studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that is at least six months in duration and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate; and
  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Why does Canada need international students?

In addition to paying higher tuition than Canadian students, international students contribute to Canada's economy through their consumption of goods and services. Furthermore, the majority of international students choose to stay in Canada after graduation.

Canada needs immigrants to combat a historic labour shortage and fill nearly one million job vacancies. In response to the shortage, Canada recently released the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, which plans to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents per year by 2025. This makes international students a valuable resource as they have been shown to integrate more quickly into the Canadian labour market as economic immigrants due to their work and study experience and a high level of proficiency in English or French.

Over 400,000 study permits issued in 2022

Between January and August 2022, IRCC issued more than 452,000 study application permits, and there continues to be high demand for them as shown by the most recent backlog data. Currently there are some 125,966 application for study permits in inventory with a further 34,000 seeking a study permit extension.

Why do students want to move to Canada?

According to a recent study by the Canadian Bureau of International Education, Canada is among the top choices for international students due to its reputation for safety and stability as well for being a tolerant and inclusive country.

Canada also has a rate of acceptance for international students. The study ,released in July, said that students ranked getting a letter of acceptance from an education institution as the easiest part of coming to Canada.

Getting permanent residence as an international graduate

Once you have completed your educational program, you may be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP allows you to work in any profession for up to three years, depending on the length of your study program. While the work experience you gain as a student cannot be used as part of your application for permanent residence, your work experience with a PGWP does count. After you have completed a year of work in Canada under a PGWP, you may be eligible for permanent residence under an Express Entry program.

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