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International Students and Work Permits – What You Need To Know

As of the 15th of November 2022, the guidelines and restrictions around international students working while studying have changed. There were just under half a million study permits issued to international students last year in Canada, so changes in these rules will have a huge impact on the student population. The latest predictions suggest that international student numbers are set to increase next year. But what do these changes mean? And why were they announced? Let’s take a closer look:

What are the new rules?

This October, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a change in the rules, but only on a temporary basis until the end of 2023. From the 15th of November, the restrictions will be eased on the number of hours that an international student can work per week – removing the 20 hour cap. This is relevant for international students who have the authorization to work off-campus.

If you are in the process of applying for a study permit or have submitted an application and are awaiting a response, you will also be eligible for these changes should you be accepted.

What were the previous restrictions?

Before November of this year, there was a restriction on the number of hours that any international studies could work alongside their studies. The maximum number of hours that an international student could work per week was 20. This was during term time when they were studying but was lifted during the holidays such as over summer – allowing students to work and earn more when they were not in university.

Why have the guidelines changed? There are a number of reasons for the shift in policy from the IRCC. Firstly, the government has faced increasing pressure from international students to increase the number of hours as the cost of living crisis has emerged. Canada’s cost of living crisis has led to many international students struggling, as the money that they can earn is less than others due to working hours being capped. As Canada is currently experiencing an inflation rate that is higher than ever before, more hours are needed to help pay for expensive international tuition fees and living expenses.

Additionally, many Canadian employers are struggling to fill job vacancies, meaning that there is a shortage of labour. Allowing international students to work more hours, means that some of this labour shortage can be covered. Currently, within the country, there are over one million job vacancies, with many employers looking to those coming from other countries to plug these labour gaps.

These changes show how valuable the international student population is to the Canadian economy, with experts stating that immigration is vital to supporting the economy and filling job vacancies.

The Take Away

To summarise, the number of hours that an international student can now work has increased and the 20 hour cap has been temporarily removed. This is to help combat vacancies in the workforce and to allow students to earn more during the cost of living crisis. If you are unsure of the changes or need some more information, our immigration experts are here to help.


Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth-generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the contact form.

How Can We Help? We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications. Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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