Canada to Allow International Students to Work 24 Hours per Week

International students in Canada are allowed to work off-campus for up to 24 hours per week starting in September 2024. Prior to this, international students were allowed to work unlimited hours during the summer and winter breaks.

1 min read
Canada to Allow International Students to Work 24 Hours per Week
Canada Immigration Minister Marc Miller

International students in Canada will soon be permitted to work up to 24 hours per week off-campus, an increase from the previous 20-hour limit.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller said the new policy will take effect in September after the current temporary lifting of the work cap expires.

“We are hearing from international students who say they need to work more to pay for their studies,” Miller stated. “The purpose of the international student program is to study and not to work, but we recognized a reasonable increase in allowable work hours was needed.”

The 24-hour weekly maximum was described as a “best practice” that aligns Canada with policies in other countries hosting international students. It allows students to work up to three 8-hour shifts per week during academic terms.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the 20-hour cap was temporarily lifted to help address labor shortages. Miller said over 80% of international students worked beyond 20 hours under that measure.

The policy change comes amid concerns that excessive work limits could distract from educational priorities and inadvertently turn study permits into unofficial work visas.

“Looking at best practices and policies in other like-minded countries, most limit working hours for international students,” Miller said. “Canada’s rules need to be aligned or we risk attracting more applicants whose primary intent is to work and not study.”

There are no hourly restrictions for international students working during academic breaks like summers.

Critics have warned the government that unlimited work privileges could distract students from their studies undermining the objectives of temporary foreign worker programs.

However, the minister insisted the 24-hour cap, backed by internal research, strikes “a reasonable balance” that accounts for student needs without compromising educational quality.

Miller had previously considered setting the cap at 30 hours per week but decided against it, “We know from studies that when you start working around 30-hour levels, there is a material impact on the quality of your studies,” he explained.

Leave a Reply