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IRCC to Discontinue Temporary Off-Campus Work Hours Extension for International Students

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that the temporary policy allowing international students to work more than 20 hours per week off-campus will not be extended beyond its current expiry date of April 30, 2024. Starting September 2024, the permissible working hours for international students will be modified to 24 hours per week during academic sessions.


This temporary measure introduced in October 2022 was a response to the unique challenges that came with the pandemic, aimed at assisting international students financially during a period of economic recovery. However, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, cited concerns over academic performance and the misuse of study permits primarily for work purposes as key reasons for reverting to more restrictive work limits.


This decision diverges from IRCC’s previous considerations to increase off-campus work hours to 30 hours per week as disclosed last December. The change has been influenced by recent studies in Canada and the United States, which suggest a decline in academic performance when students engage in excessive work hours alongside their studies.


Additional Changes


Alongside the revision of work hours, IRCC is implementing several changes aimed at promoting the integrity and effectiveness of Canada’s International Student Program. International students will now need to secure a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from the province of their designated learning institution (DLI) as part of their study permit application, reflecting a new cap on the number of study permits processed in 2024. Furthermore, the Trusted Institutions Framework (TIF) is being developed to recognize DLIs that demonstrate robust support systems for international students, ensuring they are well-equipped to maintain their academic and personal lives in Canada.


Eligibility for Off-Campus Work


International students wishing to work off-campus must hold a valid study permit, be enrolled full-time at a DLI, maintain satisfactory academic standing, and possess a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). Students are allowed to work unlimited hours during scheduled academic breaks but must adhere to the 20-hour rule if they are enrolled in summer classes.


As IRCC continues to refine the International Student Program, these adjustments are intended to protect international students from financial vulnerability and preserve the program’s integrity. The Minister emphasized the dual objectives of supporting international students’ integration into Canadian society while safeguarding the academic focus of their stay.


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