Limit on off-campus work hours to be lifted temporarily

October 7, 2022—Ottawa—Employers are facing unprecedented challenges in finding and retaining the workers they need during this period of economic recovery and growth. The Government of Canada is continuing to take concrete actions to address current labour needs.

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced the temporary lifting of the 20-hour-per-week cap on the number of hours that eligible post-secondary students are allowed to work off-campus while class is in session.

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.

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. 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.

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.

Today’s announcement is part of a series of initiatives that aim to benefit international students and graduates, while supporting Canada’s broader efforts to improve client service and application processing times.

Other measures recently launched to benefit international students and recent graduates include:

With unprecedented interest in Canada from applicants around the world, IRCC continues to set the bar higher for immigration processing. Ongoing efforts and client service improvements by the department aim to strengthen Canada’s immigration system, shorten wait times, reduce application backlogs and improve the experience of clients overall.

Click here to learn more.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has taken a layered approach to border management to protect the health and safety of Canadians. As the pandemic situation has continued to evolve, adjustments to border measures have been informed by the latest evidence, available data, operational considerations, and the epidemiological situation, both in Canada and internationally. Today the Government of Canada announced the removal of all COVID-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements for anyone entering Canada, effective October 1, 2022.

The removal of border measures has been facilitated by a number of factors, including modelling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 fuelled wave, Canada’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalization and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests, and treatments for COVID-19.

Effective October 1, 2022, all travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to:

  • submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website;
  • provide proof of vaccination;
  • undergo pre- or on-arrival testing;
  • carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation;
  • monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada.

Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October 1, 2022, travellers will no longer be required to:

  • undergo health checks for travel on air and rail; or
  • wear masks on planes and trains.

Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travellers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journeys.

Cruise measures are also being lifted, and travellers will no longer be required to have pre-board tests, be vaccinated, or use ArriveCAN. A set of guidelines will remain to protect passengers and crew, which will align with the approach used in the United States.

Individuals are reminded that they should not travel if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If travellers become sick while travelling, and are still sick when they arrive in Canada, they should inform a flight attendant, cruise staff, or a border services officer upon arrival. They may then be referred to a quarantine officer who will decide whether the traveller needs further medical assessment as COVID-19 remains one of many communicable diseases listed in the Quarantine Act.

The Government of Canada also reminds travellers to make informed decisions when considering travel outside of Canada to protect their health and safety. They are encouraged to review the travel advice at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories for more information on safe travel.

Canadians can continue to do their part to protect themselves and others, and reduce the spread of COVID-19, by getting vaccinated and boosted, using high quality and well-fitted masks where appropriate, self-isolating if they have symptoms and self-testing if they can.

Click here to learn more. 

Are you currently an international student studying at a BC post-secondary institution? Want to inspire others by sharing your international student journey, gain valuable writing experience, and be eligible for a chance to receive a $1,000 towards your tuition? Apply now for a Study in BC writer’s award.

Eligibility:

You must be a full or a part-time international student currently enrolled at a BC post-secondary institution.

It’s great opportunity for you to gain professional experience, build your portfolio, and earn $1,000 towards your tuition! The application deadline is Tuesday, October 18, 2022, at 11:59 pm PT.

Click here to learn more.

August 25, 2022—Through the pandemic, measures have been in place to allow international students to pursue their studies online from abroad while remaining eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). As the new school year approaches, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is creating a transition period for these measures. Following consultations with provinces, territories and education stakeholders, distance learning measures have been extended to August 31, 2023. But they are being reduced in scope.

As we transition back to pre-pandemic requirements, we encourage international students to come back to Canada. A transition period is available for those who may need some time to do so.

International students studying online from abroad or who submit a study permit application no later than August 31, 2022, will continue to be able to complete up to 100% of their program online without affecting their PGWP eligibility. However, study time completed from abroad starting on September 1, 2023, will be deducted from the length of their post-graduation work permit, regardless of when a student began their studies.

The extension of temporary distance learning measures will affect those starting programs from September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023. Specifically, these measures will apply:

  1. No more than 50% of the credits earned can be completed outside Canada to remain eligible for a PGWP.
  2. Studies completed online from outside Canada starting on September 1, 2023, will be deducted from the length of a future PGWP.

With unprecedented interest in Canada from applicants all over the world, the department continues to set the bar higher for immigration processing. However, responding to humanitarian crises and updating aging technology to meet demands have led to processing delays and longer wait times. Our focus is on reducing existing backlogs, including for student permits. Nevertheless, despite prioritizing study permit applications for students looking to begin their studies in September, some international students may not have their application processed on time to begin their studies in person for the fall 2022 intake period.

At the height of the pandemic, measures were introduced to help mitigate the impact of travel and health restrictions on international students and Canada’s international education sector. These measures allowed international students to complete up to 100% of their program online from outside Canada without affecting their eligibility to a potential pathway to permanent residence. Prior to the pandemic, students were required to complete no more than 50% of their program online, and time spent studying online from outside Canada was deducted from the length of their PGWP.

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is implementing measures for former international students with expired or expiring post-graduation work permits, and for temporary resident to permanent resident pathway applicants. These measures are building off the announcement made earlier this year.

Foreign nationals whose post-graduation work permit expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will have the opportunity to work in Canada for an additional 18 months by either extending their work permit or applying for a new one. Those currently in Canada will also have the ability to work in the interim period while their permit is being extended or a new one is being issued.

Learn more.