Work and Study

Balancing Work and Study: Navigating International Student Policies in Canada

Canada’s commitment to welcoming international students is a cornerstone of its immigration policy. However, recent debates over work limits for these students have sparked discussions on balancing study and employment opportunities.

Concerns Raised by Public Servants

In 2022, public servants cautioned the government about the potential consequences of lifting the 20-hour weekly work limit for international students. They expressed worries that increased work hours could divert students’ focus from their studies and undermine the purpose of temporary foreign worker programs.

Deliberations and Implementation

Despite the warnings, the government considered lifting the work limit to address labor shortages. While acknowledging its potential benefits in easing shortages, officials also highlighted concerns about shifting the focus of international students towards work, potentially circumventing temporary foreign worker programs, and raising integrity issues within the international student program.

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Scrutiny of the International Student Program

Canada’s burgeoning international student program has faced scrutiny, especially regarding its rapid growth and implications for housing and immigration policies. Recent measures, including a cap on study permits, reflect efforts to manage program expansion and address concerns about program integrity.

Policy Adjustments

Former immigration minister Sean Fraser announced the waiver of work restrictions until the end of 2023 to alleviate labor shortages. The waiver, extended by Minister Marc Miller until April 30, 2024, aimed to support students already in the country without incentivizing opportunistic behavior.

Balancing Work and Study

Minister Miller emphasized the importance of not disrupting students’ academic pursuits mid-year. While acknowledging the necessity of easing work restrictions amid labor shortages, he underscored the temporary nature of the policy and the need for balance between employment opportunities and academic commitments.

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Exploring Permanent Changes

With ongoing discussions, Minister Miller contemplates setting a permanent cap between 20 and 40 hours per week. This decision aims to provide students with meaningful work experiences while safeguarding their academic progress and financial stability. Canada remains committed to providing international students with enriching experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth. By striking a balance between work and study, the country ensures that students contribute positively to the economy while pursuing their educational aspirations.

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