In a recent announcement from Ottawa, Immigration Minister Marc Miller outlined significant changes to the work regulations for international students in Canada. Starting September, international students will be allowed to work off-campus for up to 24 hours per week. This decision comes after a temporary waiver during the COVID-19 pandemic, which permitted students to exceed the typical 20-hour limit in response to labor shortages. The waiver is set to expire, reverting back to the standard limit until the new rule takes effect in the fall.

This is a welcome return to common sense principles, since allowing students to work full-time while also studying full-time made no sense and created perverse incentives for foreigners to come to Canada to “study”, with the actual aim of earning a full-time income.

The decision to increase the work hours from the old 20 to 24 per week reflects a compromise between the needs of the students and the integrity of the study permit system. As mentioned, critics have expressed concerns that allowing international students to work full-time could effectively transform study permits into unofficial work visas, thus undermining the primary intent of studying. Minister Miller highlighted the importance of maintaining the balance, stating, “To be clear, the purpose of the international student program is to study and not to work.”

The move to set the cap at 24 hours is described by Minister Miller as “reasonable,” allowing students to manage three full eight-hour shifts per week without overly compromising their study commitments. This adjustment is also a response to the voices of international students who have expressed the need to work more to afford their educational expenses.

We support the return to a limit of 20-hours a week for off-campus work.


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