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Canada Increases Off-Campus Working Hours for International Students

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  • read time3 min Read
  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:May 22,2024 05:48 PM IST

  • Starting September 2024, international students can work off-campus for 24 hours per week in Canada.
  • The Standard policy allows students to work 20 hours per week. The limit of hours was relaxed for students currently in Canada, but this ended on 30 April 2024.
  • According to studies in the US and Canada, working off-campus for more than 28 hours a week has shown a decline in academic performance.

Canada Expands Work Hours for International Students.webp


Recently, at a press conference, IRCC announced that the number of off-campus part-time working hours for international students in Canada has increased from 20 to 24. The post-COVID policy, which allowed students to work off-campus for more than 20 hours a week, ended on 30 April 2024. This means the standard policy is again in effect, which will allow students to work off-campus for 20 hours a week until August.

The new policy will be implemented from September 2024 onwards. In a few months, students will be able to earn extra dollars and improve their financial situation. To learn more about the changes, read this blog for the latest updates.

Off-Campus work for International Students in Canada

Many international students opt for part-time jobs in Canada to support themselves financially while studying there. To get part-time jobs, they usually go off-campus. Off-campus means working at a place that is not part of a university or college campus. Before starting to work, students and their employers must make sure that the students can work off-campus without a work permit. To work off-campus, students must:

  • Be a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • Be enrolled in one of the following:
    a) post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program
    b) secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only)
  • Be studying a program which is at least six months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, or
  • Have started studying
  • Have a social insurance number (SIN)

Social Insurance Number

To apply for a social insurance number (SIN) to work off campus, international students must have 1 of these conditions printed on their study permit:

  • May work 20 hours per week off campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting conditions outlined in paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting conditions, per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w) and must cease working if no longer meeting these conditions.

Once students meet the above criteria, they can start working off-campus, the limit for which is 20 hours per week. Students can also do more than one job to complete 20 hours. Further, regarding schedule breaks such as winter and summer holidays, students can work full-time. Students must maintain their full-time status before and after the break. Also, students can only work during the break, after their first school semester and subsequent breaks. If a program has no schedule breaks, students can work off-campus up to 20 hours per week.

How many hours count as full-time work?

Talking about how many hours are counted as full-time work, there is no set number of hours per week that count as full-time work. Remember, working off-campus for more than 20 hours per week is a violation of study permit conditions. For doing this, students can lose their student status and may not be approved for extension of study or work permits. 

How to calculate working hours?

Two things need to be done to calculate the number of off-campus working hours for international students in Canada. Firstly, students need to define the time they spend earning wages or collecting a commission, even if they are on call during these hours and not actually working. Secondly, they must prove that they comply with the conditions of their study permit. To prove this, they must show that they are actively pursuing their studies, not working more than 20 hours a week and meeting any other conditions listed on their study permit.

Off-campus work for Self-employed students

If a student is self-employed, they’re also responsible for keeping track of the hours they work off campus and proving that they’re complying with the conditions of their study permit. Hours are calculated as any time students spend doing any of the following:

  • Earning wages
  • Being paid wages for performing a service or selling a product
  • Collecting a commission for performing a service or selling a product

Who can’t work off campus in Canada?

  • Their study permit says that they aren’t authorised to work off-campus while they study
  • They’re only enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program
  • They’re only taking general interest courses
  • They’re only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program
  • Their situation changes, and they no longer meet all of the requirements to work off-campus
  • They’re only taking general interest courses
  • They’re only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program
  • Their situation changes, and they no longer meet all of the requirements to work off-campus


If any of these situations apply to international students who still want to work while studying in Canada, they need to apply for a work permit. The above situations are not permanent and may be changed in the future. If they are changed, students will again become eligible to work off-campus.

If Study Situation Changes

If international students weren’t eligible to work off-campus, but their study situation has now changed, they may be able to change the conditions of their study permit.

Students can apply to change the conditions of their permit if:

  • they’ve changed their study program to one that may allow them to work off-campus and
  • their study permit says, “This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada”

Or

  • IRCC included a condition on their study permit that may no longer apply

IRCC included a condition on their study permit that may no longer apply Example: International students have a study permit to complete prerequisite courses, such as an ESL or FSL course. Then, they’re accepted into a full-time study program. This would mean they could apply to have the condition (not being allowed to work off campus) removed from their study permit.

Changing the Conditions on Canada Study Permit

International students cannot work off-campus if any of the following situation applies to them:

conditions for working off-campus in canada.webp


When students apply online, their personalised checklist will include the Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Student [IMM 5709]. In that form, students check the box to Apply for a study permit for the first time or extend my study permit, whatever condition applies to them and fill out the rest of the required fields.

Students should include a letter with their application explaining why they need the condition removed from their study permit.

New Off-Campus Work Limit for International Students


In a recent move, IRCC has increased off-campus working hours for international students in Canada to 24 hours per week. This change will be permanent and will come into effect from September 2024 onwards. However, till then, students will continue to work off-campus 20 hours a week only.

This shift from 20 hours a week to 24 hours might seem insignificant, but it will actually allow students to work three 8-hour shifts rather than two. This 4-hour increase becomes 16 hours per month, which means they can earn more money to pay tuition fees.

Why 24 hours/week for off-campus work in Canada?


Now, international students might think that if the Canadian Government wanted to support students, why haven’t they increased the limit to 30 hours? The logic is that many employers look for students who can work three shifts, which isn’t possible with a 20-hour work limit.

Further, the limit was not increased to 30 because research shows that working more than 28 hours declines academic performance. Also, 30 hours for some professions is considered as full-time employment. Therefore, 24 hours is the perfect number, allowing students to concentrate on their studies as well as earn more money.

What does this mean for current international students?


It is to be noted that this new law will not come into effect until fall 2024. International students who are currently studying in Canada need to follow old standing policy for working in Canada. That means off-campus working hours for international students in Canada will remain the same till September 2024. That is 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during scheduled breaks.

What does this mean for the May Intake students?


The new policy will be implemented in September 2024, so until then, the May intake students can work off-campus for 20 hours a week. They can do so till August, and once the policy is put into practice, they can work off-campus 24 hours a week during session time and full time during academic breaks. By working more hours, they can get relevant experience and an edge when applying for jobs after their studies. On the other hand, this can also have not-so-positive effects on students. They might find it difficult to manage their studies and work together. Further, they will have less time to explore Canada and participate in extracurricular activities.

What does this mean for the September Intake students?


Under the new policy, international students going to Canada for the September intake will be able to work off-campus for 24 hours a week starting in September 2024. They will be able to work 3 shifts, which most employers look for. By working for more hours, they will be able to cope with the increased cost of living expenses  in Canada. International students going for September intake in Canada may have an improved work-study balance as they will be able to find better jobs which goes hand in hand with their academic schedules. They will have to juggle less between work and studies which will lead to a balanced lifestyle.


Conclusion


On 30th April 2024, IRCC announced that off-campus working hours for international students in Canada are increased to 24 hours per week. The change has been brought to strike a fine balance for students. After this change, students can focus on their studies while earning extra money. The policy will be applicable from September 2024 onwards. Till then, students can work off-campus 20 hours per week and full-time during scheduled breaks. To know how to find off-campus part-time jobs, students must contact Canam  study abroad consultants.

FAQ

To work off-campus, international students must
  • Be a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • Have enrolled in either of the following.
  • Have started studying.
  • Have a social insurance number (SIN)
Students can work off-campus for 20 hours per week until September 2024. The new policy will be implemented in September 2024, and students can work 24 hours a week off-campus.Students can work off-campus for 20 hours per week until September 2024. The new policy will be implemented in September 2024, and students can work 24 hours a week off-campus.
The Federal minimum wage is 17.3 per hours. The students in Canada can earn an upwards of $25,000 per year during their study period. The average starting salary in Canada is $45,000 per year.
From September 2024 onwards, international students can work 24 hours per week in Canada.
Working more than 20 hours in Canada violates your study permit conditions, and doing so may result in losing student status.
According to new rules, students can work off-campus 24 hours a week from September 2024 onwards.
Some of the best part-time jobs for international students in Canada are Server, Sales Assistant, Dog Walker and Tutor.
Yes, international students can work as many hours as they want in addition to off-campus as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for working on campus.

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