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Canada announces extension of international student work hours from 20 to 40 hours




Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has extended a policy allowing certain international students to work beyond the standard 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus employment.

Nairametrics learns that this policy was initially implemented in 2022 to address labour shortages, the temporary policy permitted full-time (40 hours per week) off-campus employment.

Originally set to expire on December 31, 2022, the recent announcement extends the policy until April 30, 2024.

Before this policy change in late 2022, IRCC restricted international students to a maximum of 20 hours per week for off-campus work during the school year.

However, during scheduled academic breaks, they were allowed to work full-time. As of December 7, 2023, international students already in Canada or those with submitted study permit applications will continue to benefit from the extended off-campus work hours.

The announcement

Minister Miller provided an update on temporary policies affecting international students that were all set to expire at the end of 2023. He said the following:

  • The waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit on the number of hours international students are allowed to work off campus while class is in session will be extended to April 30, 2024.
  • “International students already in Canada, as well as applicants who have already applied for a study permit as of December 7, 2023, will be able to work off campus more than 20 hours per week until that time.
  • “We continue to examine options for this policy in the future, such as expanding off-campus work hours for international students to 30 hours per week while class is in session”.

While the policy is not permanent, it alleviates financial burdens for many international students across Canada. The decision to allow increased work hours was acknowledged by an Ecuadorian international student, emphasizing that it eases financial concerns.

Eligibility for extended work hours requires international students to attend in-person classes at a Canadian post-secondary institution, have off-campus work authorization on their study permit, and, for those who applied by October 7, 2022, benefit from the removal of the previous restriction.

IRCC has expressed a commitment to explore future policy options, including the potential expansion of off-campus work hours to 30 per week during class sessions.

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