On-campus work in Canada is very limited, difficult to obtain, typically not very lucrative, and not often related to studies. So opening up off-campus work for international students in Canada is a great leap forward, and will help to make Canada an even more attractive location for international students.
Off-Campus Work Permit Program allows certain foreign students to work off campus while completing their studies. To qualify, the international students must be a full-time student enrolled at a participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institution or in an approved program at an eligible privately funded institution.
Participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institutions:
- are public post-secondary institutions, such as a college or university or a collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec or
- are private post-secondary institutions that operate under the same rules and regulations as public institutions, and receive at least 50 percent of their financing for their overall operations from government grants (currently only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) or
- have signed an off-campus work agreement with their provincial or territorial government.
- are located in a province or territory that has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
- have signed an off-campus work agreement with their provincial or territorial government and
- have approval from their provincial or territorial government to grant specific degrees.
Some other details include that the foreign students:
- must have a valid study permit, and they must have studied full-time at an eligible Canadian public, post-secondary institution for at least six months out of the 12 months preceding their work permit application.
- Schools must sign an agreement with the province or territory in which they are located in order to participate in the program.
- The agreement includes monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure that students retain their eligibility for the program.
- Under agreements with the provinces, eligible full-time students who retain satisfactory academic standing can apply to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week off-campus while classes are in session and full-time during scheduled breaks (including summer or winter holidays and reading weeks).
- Exchange students, students enrolled in English- or French-as-a-second-language programs, and students who have received awards from the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program, the Government of Canada Awards Program or the Canadian International Development Agency are not eligible for work permits under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.
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