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CSA Responds: the IRCC Does not Renew the Temporary Policy Allowing International Students to work 40 Hours Per Week

On April 29th, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced new regulations regarding off-campus work hours for international students. The temporary policy that enabled international students to work up to 40 hours per week has not been extended. Prior to this temporary policy, full-time international students were eligible to work 20 hours per week off-campus. Effective this fall, international students will now be eligible to work 24 hours per week off-campus.

CSA appreciates the multifaceted approach adopted by the IRCC to protect international students in Canada. Provisions such as the international student cap, the heightened minimum financial requirement for study permit applicants, and the recent adjustment to working hours will collectively contribute to enhancing the preparedness of international students to live in Canada. This type of approach is necessary to address the diverse needs and challenges faced by international students, rather than a one size fits all solution.

CSA recently released an original Research Report: International Students on the IRCC’s December 2023 Revisions to ‘better protect international students’”. As noted in the report, many respondents highlighted the importance of working hours, with three perspectives dominating the narrative:

  1. There should be appropriate limits on working hours to protect international students and encourage focus on studies. 

  2. The government should not regulate international student working hours and allow them to work as little or as much as they would like.

  3. International students should have limits on working hours so multiple international students have the opportunity to work a part-time position, rather than one international student working full-time. 

Our findings also revealed that 60.32% of respondents able to demonstrate access to the new minimum financial requirement ($20,365) at the time of their study permit application still experienced adverse mental, physical, academic and/or personal impacts due to financial stress. This shows us that mere access to higher funds does not fully protect international students from financial stress. As a result, CSA recommended continuing to increase working hours: (1) to help safeguard those international students who may still experience negative impacts due to financial stress and (2) to preserve international student choice so they can create their own working schedule to fit their financial needs. 

Though the 40-hour-per-week temporary policy was not extended, we are happy to see an increase in working hours, from 20 to 24. This increase will give international students more flexibility and choice in creating their work schedule, and also will allow those struggling financially to obtain some additional income while protecting their academic pursuits.

Finally, we urge the IRCC to carefully monitor and evaluate this change after it has been implemented to ensure its intended objectives are being met, and that no international student is left without the financial support to sustain themselves in Canada. This will be particularly important for international students admitted before the new financial requirement increase took effect on January 1st, 2024. Additional support for these students would recognize that, in some cases they possess less than half of the funds now recognized to be the minimum to sustain oneself in Canada.


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