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Canada's New Horizon: The 30-Hour Work Week Policy for International Students

In an era of significant transformation within the international student program, Canada's Immigration Minister has unveiled a series of measures aimed at enhancing the experience and opportunities available to international students starting in 2024. These changes, which include an increase in the cost of living requirements from January 1, 2024, and the introduction of a provincial attestation letter (PAL) for new students, signify a commitment to improving the educational journey in Canada. Despite the controversy surrounding adjustments to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and the Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP), a new proposal has sparked a hopeful dialogue among international students.



A Glimmer of Hope: Extended Full-Time Work Policy

In a recent announcement, Immigration Minister, Marc Miller highlighted an extension of the full-time work policy for eligible students until the end of April 2024. This extension serves as a lifeline for students striving to balance their academic commitments with the need to support themselves financially. Moreover, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has hinted at a more radical reform: the consideration of an increase in the weekly working hours for international students from 20 to 30 hours.



Eligibility for Full-Time Work Until April 2024

The groundwork for this initiative was laid by former Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, who introduced a temporary policy allowing certain international students to work more than the standard 20 hours per week while in session. This policy, which did not cap the number of working hours, enabled students to work unlimited hours provided they adhered to their study program requirements. To be eligible for this full-time work privilege until April 30, 2024, students must meet specific criteria related to their study permit application or extension dates.



Prospective Increase to 30 Hours: A Balanced Approach?

The contemplation of increasing the weekly work allowance to 30 hours for international students is a nuanced approach to addressing several challenges. On one hand, it offers a potential solution to the limitations imposed by the recent reforms, including the cap on the number of international students and the restrictions on PGWP and SOWP eligibility. On the other hand, it acknowledges the economic realities faced by students, providing them with a greater opportunity to earn a living while pursuing their studies.



Setting Up for Success

By potentially increasing the working hours from 20 to 30, the IRCC aims to compensate for the reduction in the number of SOWPs and PGWPs, albeit partially. This policy not only helps bridge the gap created by the new reforms but also sets international students up for success by offering them more flexibility and financial stability. The statement from the immigration minister underscores a commitment to ensuring that international students can thrive in Canada, both academically and economically.



Yanique Russell Law's Perspective

At Yanique Russell Law, we recognize the profound impact these policy changes can have on the lives of international students. Navigating the complexities of immigration law and adapting to new policies require careful consideration and guidance. We are committed to providing our clients with the latest information and support as they adjust to these new regulations. By understanding the nuances of these policies, we aim to empower international students to make informed decisions about their education and employment opportunities in Canada.



Looking Ahead

As Canada navigates these changes, the focus remains on the need to strike a balance between maintaining the integrity of the international student program and providing meaningful support to students from abroad. The proposed increase to a 30-hour work week represents a significant shift in policy, reflecting a deeper understanding of the needs of international students. As these discussions progress, it's clear that the well-being and success of international students remain a priority for Canadian immigration policy, promising a brighter future for those seeking to study and work in Canada.



Source: Canada Considering 30-Hour Work Policy For International Students (immigrationnewscanada.ca)


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