International students working 24 Hours a Week : Canada, 2024

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Canada has announced new immigration policies for international students, reducing the maximum off-campus work hours from 40 to 24 per week. Immigration Minister Marc Miller said this change aims to strengthen the integrity of Canada’s International Student Program.

How this will affect students who rely on part-time work to support themselves? Let’s explore!

Government Rationale: Focus on Studies or Labor Market?

“As international students arrive in Canada, we want them to be prepared for life here and have the support they need to succeed.” said Immigration Minister Marc Miller on Monday, April 29. “However, first and foremost, people coming to Canada as students must be here to study, not work. We will continue working to protect the integrity of our student program.”

Therefore, according to the Canadian government they have two primary reasons for the reduced work hours:

  • Academic Focus – The government’s primary objective is to ensure students focus on their studies. Research from Canada and the U.S. shows that students who work more than 28 hours a week tend to do worse in their studies. Working more than 24 hours a week can also lead to a higher dropout rate. Further it must be noted that, during Covid 19, the Liberals temporarily lifted the long existing rule that limited international students to 20 hours of off-campus work per week, allowing them to work up to 40 hours to help fill labor shortages. However, this exception ended with the new rule announced on April 29th, reverting to a 20-hour limit until September 2024, when it will increase to 24 hours per week. Applicable to both old and new students!
  • Program Integrity: The recent surge in international student applications sparked concerns about the program’s core purpose. Some suspected that the increased work hours during COVID-19 encouraged people to use student visas as an unofficial path to work in Canada. To address this concern and restore program integrity, the Canadian government introduced a two-year cap on international student permits and reinstated stricter work limits. In 2024, only 360,000 study permits will be approved, a 35% decrease from 2023. Additionally, many schools have been admitting more students purely for profit. As a result, many international students come to Canada relying majorly on student employment.



Global Work Limits: A Quick Look

For international students, work hour limits vary:

  • US: 20 hours/week during semesters, full-time on campus during breaks, applicable to F-1 visa holders.
  • UK: 10-20 hours/week during term time, full-time outside term time (varies by visa).
  • Australia: 48 hours per fortnight (24 hours/week).

Canada’s new 24-hour work limit for international students aligns with best practices in other leading countries. Immigration Minister Marc Miller explained, “Canada’s rules need to be aligned, or we will find our programs attracting more and more applicants whose primary intent is to work and not studying.”

Impact on International Students:

The Canadian government is taking new steps to address long-standing issues like high living costs, student housing, and healthcare, aiming to create a better future for its youth. However, the increase in international student intake and the previous policy allowing longer working hours put a strain on Canada’s economic and social resources. As Immigration Minister Marc Miller noted, “International students are vital to Canada and enrich our communities. As such, we have an obligation to ensure that they have access to the resources they need for an enriching academic experience.” To help manage these challenges, Canada’s immigration department updated the mandatory cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants. This update aims to ensure that students are better prepared for life in Canada without relying excessively on work.

Miller added, “Today, we are announcing additional measures to protect a system that has become so lucrative that it has opened a path for its abuse.” And it is true! Since December 1, 2023, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) imposed that every Letter of Acceptance (LOA) must be verified by them to prevent fraudulent applications. This verification process has already uncovered 9,000 LOAs that were not issued by any designated learning institution, highlighting the extent of the problem.

Conclusion: A Balancing Act

Canada’s new work limit policy for international students presents a complex scenario. It aims to foster a strong academic environment while protecting the integrity of the program. While the reduced work hours may pose challenges, consider this: thousands of international students are already thriving under similar policies in the US, UK, and Australia. Don’t let the new immigration landscape become a barrier to your academic dreams.

Nanda and Associates Lawyers can help you seamlessly navigate the application process, ensuring you don’t miss this incredible opportunity. Contact us and take the first step towards your Canadian study adventure today!

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