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Canada addresses labour shortage: International students allowed to work unrestricted hours


NEW DELHI: International students at Canada will be allowed to work off-campus for an unlimited number of hours from November 15. This relaxation period will be in effect until the end of December next year.
Currently, international students can only work off-campus 20 hours per week while classes are in session. This restriction often results in them having to work in entry-level, low-paying jobs or work in a sly style, which is an illegal move and leads to deportation.
Sean Fraser, Canada’s Immigration Minister, announced Friday that the easing is temporary and is intended to help address the labor shortage crisis facing Canadian employers. It will also ease the financial burden on international students, a significant number of which come from India.
Refugee Immigration and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the government of Canada’s immigration agency, says, “From November 15, 2022 to December 31, 2023, international students are in Canada and hold a valid permit. Off-campus work permits on their study permit will not be limited by the 20-hour-per-week rule. Foreign nationals who have applied for a study permit, as of today (October 7), will also be able to benefit from this temporary change, as long as their study permit application is approved. ”
Minister Fraser’s statement read: “With the economy growing at a faster rate than employers can hire new workers, Canada needs to consider all options so that we have the skills we need. capabilities and workforce needed to drive our growth. Immigration will be crucial to solving our labor shortage. By allowing international students to work part-time while studying, we can help alleviate the urgent need in many areas across the country, while providing more opportunities for international students to gain valuable Canadian work experience and continue to contribute to our short- and long-term recovery of prosperity.”
It should be noted that this period is not open to ‘future’ students who provide their study permit application after 7 October. This, according to some academics, could create a loss. balance.
Safeguards have been put in place to ensure that this temporary period is not abused by job seekers. “Study permit holders still have to strike a balance between their commitment to study and work, as those who stop studying or reduce course load to study only part-time will not be eligible to work off-campus, ” the immigration agency added.
Canada currently has over five thousand international students, with a huge contingent from India. According to ApplyBoard, an online platform for recruiting international students in Canada, has seen a large influx of Indian students in calendar year 2021. From January to September 2021, nearly 1,15,000 Indian students have been approved to study in Canada. This has surpassed the previous record of 1,11,110 in 2019. “Based on historical trends, we estimate that over 1,40,000 Indian students were approved in 2021. This total 25% higher than in 2019,” said ApplyBoard.
Josh Schachnow, an immigration attorney and founder of Visto.ai, a technology talent search platform, expressed mixed feelings: “Although the announcement will ease students’ financial burdens, , but the key is to find the right type of job, your experience counts towards your permanent residence.”
Madhav Dave, whose social media profile mentions him as a supply chain management student, based in Ontario, posted: “It really is a great opportunity but the ball is in the air. in the employer’s yard. I wonder how flexible they will be. Assuming that a student has to attend college at least one or two days a week, there are three workdays and weekends. Can an employer hire a student three days a week in a job that fits the bill? ”
“A lot of international students have previous experience that can be used to their advantage, but all they can do during their studies is unskilled labor or work in restaurants. Give us the minimum wage, but at least give us a chance so we can start gaining experience and be ready for the market when we graduate, which will also help employers. search app for ‘experienced newbies,'” he added.
“Today’s announcement (Friday) is not about labor shortages, but about labor mobility and rights, and it is a direct result of years of tireless organization by international students. current and former students. Removing limits on working hours while studying gives immigrant students the power to leave bad jobs, speak out against exploitation and abuse, and the freedom and flexibility to make decisions about their work,” Sarom Rhoan organizer for the ‘Migrant Students Association’ at the Migrant Workers for Change Coalition.
In 2019, Jobandeep Singh Sandhu, an Indian who was studying mechanical engineering, had his immigration status revoked and was eventually deported from Canada for driving a truck more than 20 hours a week. Since then, the Coalition has actively called for change.
An average shift is eight hours. Part-time work is generally considered three days a week (this total is a minimum of 24 hours). The union points out that the 20-hour work limit forces immigrant students to work in irregular jobs that are outside the scope of protections under labor law.
“Immigration students like me pushed and won this change,” said Harshill Dhingra, an international alumnus at Humber College. I am a victim of this limitation in my work. Last year, I injured my left finger in a very serious accident while working for money at a restaurant and decided to keep quiet because I was afraid that I would be deported. He added, “Nobody has to fight for things like permission for where, how and how much we want to work; 1.7 million migrants need permanent residency, so we have the same rights as anyone else.”
This is echoed by Jeevan Singh D, who works in education, based in Ontario: “It reduces the risk of students needing to do cash-paying jobs where they get paid 5 dollars an hour for 80 hours of work and no employment benefits or worker insurance. Reducing the risk of worker exploitation is certainly positive.”

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