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International Students Can Work More Hours to Help Canada's Labour Shortage

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Study Permits

International Students Can Work More Hours to Help Canada's Labour Shortage


Canada has introduced a temporary measure to allow over 500,000 international students in Canada to work more than 20 hours a week from 15 November 2022 until 31 December 2023.

Lifting the cap on admissible working hours for employment off-campus empowers students with increased earning potential, and greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to job possibilities.

Those who struggled to find work within the 20-hour limitation can now increase their hours or look for employment better suited to their career aspirations. Below are some FAQs related to this recent reform.

FAQs About Canada's New Program So International Students Can Work More Hours

Why has Canada increased working hours for international students?

This year, Canada has been hit with labour shortages and one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the country’s history. In a bid to address ongoing labour shortages, the government has lifted working hours for international students in the hopes they’ll find work in service industries and their fields of study.

According to research by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), the majority of international students wish to remain in Canada after completing their studies. Allowing them to enter the workforce while still being students not only bolsters the economy, but also helps them start adult life with a stronger financial foundation.

What do I need to qualify for a student work permit?

You’re eligible to work as a student in Canada if you have a Social Insurance Number and meet one of the following criteria:

  • You’re a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI).
  • You’re a former full-time student (now part-time), completing your final semester of study.
  • You’re enrolled in a qualifying post-secondary program of study that’s at least six months long
  • You’ve submitted an application to study before October 7, 2022, and are awaiting approval.
  • Your study permit has been approved, but you have not arrived in Canada yet.

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Are there any conditions to working more than 20 hours a week?

Safeguards have been built to ensure this pilot program isn’t exploited by jobseekers. Currently, this employment leeway isn’t available to prospective students who applied for study permits after October 7, 2022. Students are also expected to maintain their study and work commitments. They can’t suddenly reduce course loads by opting to study part-time and work off-campus.

What kind of work is permitted for international students in Canada?

Canada offers three employment opportunities for international students, depending on the type of permit you apply for and your field of study.

On-Campus Work
Any jobs located in the building on your school campus qualify as on-campus work. You can only work at satellite campuses if you’re a teaching or research assistant, or if your work is related to a research grant.

An on-campus employer can be your school, a faculty member, a student organization, a private contractor that provides on-site services, or yourself if you run a business located on campus. There’s no limit to your number of working hours.

Off-Campus Work
You can work off-campus if your tertiary institution participates in an off-campus work permit program through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Working hours are subject to provincial employment standards which are usually between 40 and 48 hours per week.

To qualify, you have to be a full-time student before and after school breaks. This means the summer breaks before and after your study term are not included.

Internships and Co-op Placements
Some study programs include work experience as part of their curriculum. If this applies to you, you can work so long as; you meet the legal requirements, have a confirmation letter from your program that states you need to complete a work placement to earn your degree, and your internship takes up 50% or less of your study program.

What kinds of jobs are available to international students in Canada?

Most available student jobs are entry-level positions in retail and merchandising, childcare, front desk duties, and servers in food and beverage services. You may also be legible to apply for assistant jobs related to teaching or research within your faculty.

What if my post-graduation work permit is set to expire?

If your permit is reaching its expiry date, you can still work in Canada for an additional 18 months by either extending it or applying for a new one.

Those currently in Canada are allowed to work in the interim period while their permit is being automatically renewed or a new one is being issued. Therefore, they’ll be able to support themselves while they wait and not be forced to return to their country of origin.

These new measures are extremely beneficial for students in the post-study work sector because it allows them to amass more work experience and establish connections in the labour market. This is particularly important if their goal is to apply for permanent residence.

Learn More:

Are You An International Student Who Wants to Study In Canada?


Do you want to study in Canada? In order to study in Canada, international students usually require a Study Permit. Our dedicated team of highly experienced immigration lawyers and legal professionals provide immigration legal services for international students and individuals who want to move to Canada for work, education or personal reasons. We serve clients across Canada, the United States and around the globe. Immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah, Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law, has practiced Canada and U.S. NAFTA immigration law for over 20 years. Ackah Law exclusively practices immigration law, helping our clients cross borders seamlessly and smoothing the way for business and personal immigration and travel.

With offices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, contact Ackah Law today at (403) 452-9515 or email contact@ackahlaw.com.

Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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I just got out from the Vancouver airport, successfully got a 3-year work permit. The process was quick and smooth.

Thank you for all your help.


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