Canada is to lift the limit on the number of hours international students can work off-campus during their studies.

The move, announced on Friday by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, is designed to help with the chronic labour shortage currently being felt across the country.

Instead of being limited to 20 hours per week, from November 15, post-secondary international students will be able to work as much as they like. The temporary measure will be in place until December 31, 2023.

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Candidates who have already submitted a Study Permit application are included in the new measure if approved.

“With the economy growing at a faster rate than employers can hire new workers, Canada needs to look at every option so that we have the skills and workforce needed to fuel our growth,” Fraser said. 

‘Immigration will be crucial to addressing our labour shortage. 

“By allowing international students to work more while they study, we can help ease pressing needs in many sectors across the country, while providing more opportunities for international students to gain valuable Canadian work experience and continue contributing to our short-term recovery and long-term prosperity.”

The step is designed to benefit Canadian employers and provide international students with an opportunity to amass more Canadian work experience, of particular importance if their long-term goal is to transition to permanent residence.

With more than 500,000 international students already in Canada, the decision will provide an immediate boost to the struggling labour market.

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Meanwhile, Canada has also announced a pilot project to process Study Permit extensions automatically.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) say the project will include applications will a high approval rate, given all the candidates have previously studied in Canada.

The decision is aimed at helping cut the huge backlog of applications currently with the IRCC.

“Should the pilot be successful, it will be expanded in order to help reduce processing times and allow officers to focus on more complex applications,” IRCC said.

These latest measures to benefit international students are one of many introduced by Canada recently, as it looks to maintain its reputation as one of the best countries in the world to study.

It recently extended a Covid-19 measure to allow candidates studying online from abroad to count that time towards a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Meanwhile, those with expired or expiring PGWPs have been made eligible for an 18-month open work permit, to give them an extra chance to build the work experience required for a permanent residence application.

Canada processed more than 450,000 study permit applications between January and August, IRCC says, up from 367,000 in the same period of 2021.

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