International students say goodbye to 20-hour work week limit — for now 

The Hall building at Concordia’s Sir George Williams campus. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/The Concordian

The federal government is looking to lean on international students to help address Canada’s labour shortage

On Oct. 7, the federal government announced its plan to temporarily lift the limit on the number of hours international students can work. 

Under the previous policy, international students studying in Canada were permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week off-campus. However, there is no such limit for on-campus work.

According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, this policy will come into effect on Nov. 15 and will remain in place until the end of 2023, allowing international students to work additional hours.

Clément Lechat, an international student at Concordia University, shared his thoughts on this implementation:

“I don’t really understand the 20-hours-a-week limit,” said Lechat. He explained that many international students struggle to support themselves. For the students who can take on the extra hours, he said, “This change is a great opportunity for them.”

Lechat added, “I think it would be a good idea for the government to keep this policy long term.”

Fraser claimed that even as the Canadian economy bounces back following the pandemic, the  country faces an ongoing labour shortage. With over 500,000 international students currently in Canada, Fraser believes they’re important for addressing this issue.

“By allowing international students to work more while they study, we can help ease pressing needs in many sectors,” he said. 

Besides lifting the limit on work hours, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will launch a pilot program to automate the process for international students looking to extend their study permits. This will also be accompanied by the opportunity to extend expired or expiring work permits by an additional 18 months.


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