Following the new guidelines, Indian and other international students in Canada are free to work off campus more than 20 hours a week while enrolled in an active educational programme.
The Canadian government has lifted the 20-hour-a-week limit on the number of hours international students can work off-campus as it continues to face a labour shortage. Employers in Canada were actively looking to fill nearly one million jobs as of July when the country's job vacancy rate fell to 5.4 percent from a peak of 6 percent in April.
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Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced on Friday, "There’s more job opportunities than there are workers in almost every community in Canada." He added that while some international students will work in service jobs, he expects some to find employment in their field of study.
Rohit Sethi, director of overseas study consultancy ESS Global, says with the rise in the number of job openings, Canada has been actively making changes in their permanent immigration system giving priority to the people who are already in Canada under the Canadian experience subclass.
The change also shows how the Canadian government values international students and how they can amend their regulations to meet the demand of the job markets.
"This is probably the first time that the Canadian and Australian governments are taking such steps and this is a good opportunity as it will help the students with more practical knowledge," Sethi added.
The restriction, however, has been lifted temporarily from 15 November 2022 until 31 December 2023 to deal with the historic labour shortage. The new policy will only apply to students studying full-time.
Sourabh Arora, Founder and CEO of University Living, a global accommodation marketplace, sees the development as highly significant for international students in Canada. "Many of these students rely on working part-time jobs while studying to help pay their tuition, cover their living costs, and gain vital experience working in their field," said Arora.
Here's what it means for Indian and other international students
– Until the new norm was introduced, international students studying in an eligible Canadian institute could work off-campus for no more than 20 hours per week during their classes. However, during scheduled breaks like summer and winter holidays, their working hours could exceed 20. Following the new guidelines, students can do that even when enrolled in an active educational programme.
– Since the cost of living in Canada is higher, Indian and other international students will now be able to support themselves better financially. The original policy is to ensure that students' focus doesn't shift focus from studies to only working in a foreign country.
– Indian students, who make up more than one-third of all international students studying in Canada, will benefit the most from this decision, said Kshitij Purohit, Lead Commodities and Currency, CapitalVia Global Research.
More than 240,000 of the more than 600,000 international students studying in Canada come from India.
"India's rupee has fallen against the Canadian dollar once more as a result of the strong US dollar. The longer hours will provide Indian students more opportunities to earn money, which will benefit them to combat the decrease in the Indian Rupee," he told CNBCTV18.com.
– This move will expand the chance for many overseas students to get necessary job experience in Canada and increase the workforce pool to support Canada's post-pandemic growth.
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– The High Commission of Canada in India has tweeted to clarify that while some study permits allow students to work in Canada, they can only start working when their study programme has started, not before.
–Canadian Immigration minister Fraser said lifting the cap will give students a better choice of employment opportunities, making them less likely to fall victim to "unscrupulous employers." "That will create a better opportunity for students to not fall victim to an individual employer they may be beholden to," he said. He also announced a pilot project to automate some approvals of study permit extension applications to address a backlog.
– University Living's Arora said, "It is a win-win for both the country's ecosystem and also for international students. This will help them retain their position as a popular study-abroad destination."
He added that this comes as welcome news for students, their parents, and employers across Canada, making it a significant improvement that will keep Canada on the top of mind for international students and competitive as a nation looking to attract top talent.
First Published: IST