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Unlimited work hours granted to international students in Canada

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Canada has announced new immigration measures which are set to benefit international students. 

On Friday, October 7, 2022, Canada’s Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser announced that from November 15, 2022, post-secondary international students will be able to work as much as they like. The temporary measure will be in place until December 31, 2023, for students who have already submitted their study permit applications.

International students in Canada are currently allowed to work 20 hours per week off campus. This new announcement is being celebrated by international students already in the country and will appeal to prospective students who are desirous of pursuing studies in the North American destination which is already a top choice for many students worldwide.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations welcomed the announcement, saying it was a step toward improving the educational experience of international students. 

Christian Fang, the alliance’s chair was quoted as saying “allowing international students to work more off-campus hours will help students afford their education and increase educational experiences.”

He continued “this is not only a win for international students but also Canada.”

Minister Sean Fraser has also announced a pilot program to help automate the application process for students to extend their study permits. 

That will allow for some applications to be automatically approved, but the new process will not automatically reject claims.

The pilot is aimed at reducing immigration backlogs so that immigration officers can dedicate more time to work on more complex applications. 

International students typically start their program of study in January or September depending on their course of study and the institution they attend. 

Students from the Caribbean can gain admission into courses after completing their Caribbean Secondary School Examinations (CSEC exams) or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE exams) with some programs accepting students with five CSEC passes or a high school diploma. Programs are as short as one year in duration to four-year university degree programs for high school graduates.

Canada also has many graduate-level programs which span from one-year postgraduate diplomas to PhDs.

Canadian institutions accept recent graduates and mature students who wish to advance their careers. 

According to data published by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the student permit approval rate for Jamaicans for the period 2019 was 73 percent. 

In 2020 the approval rate was 32 percent and in 2021 41 percent. This percentage excludes study permit extensions. 

Prospective students can seek the assistance of a licensed Canadian immigration lawyer in assisting them with preparing their student permit application and can reapply if they were previously denied. 

Persons who have been denied a study permit also have the right to appeal their refusal in a court of law in Canada should they wish within the stipulated timeframe.

*This article does not constitute legal advice and is intended for informational purposes only.

Carissa Mears is a triple-qualified lawyer authorized to practice immigration law throughout Canada and licensed to practice law in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. 

She has served as an adjunct lecturer in law at the University of the West Indies Mona and The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean. 

She is passionate about making legal issues understandable to the general public. You can contact her at 

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