To help with the labour shortage, the Canadian government is set to allow international students to work off-campus for unlimited hours without impacting their student permits.
Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, declared the short-term measure will be implemented from Nov. 15, 2022, to Dec, 31, 2023, for full-time students, offering more opportunities for international students to accumulate occupational experience.
Previously, international students registered in the post-secondary program could work unlimited hours in the campus, including the summer break, yet students worked off-campus had to abide by a 20-hour-a-week cap.
“It is a good one because it allows international students to earn more money to support their living in this country. Especially nowadays, inflation is there. So, it really helps them,” said Tim Bati-el, an international student at SAIT.
As the tuition fee for international students is relatively higher than domestic students, the lift of the weekly work limit could assist some students who need to pay their loans or tuition fee.
“Being able to work more hours gives us a lot more to be able to save more to their tuition fees and not worry about it,” said Jenni Foo, an international student at SAIT who work at the Station Express.
Although the number of job vacancies dropped 5.5 per cent in Canada compared with June, almost a million job postings remained open.
“In food and beverage industry, we need staff anytime,” said Hazel Yi, a supervisor at Jugo Juice in Marda Loop. “So because of this policy, we can hire more staff easier.
“We can have more options when we are hiring and working full shifts will be better for students, because they don’t need to travel all the way here and just work for only (a few) hours.”
With the upcoming changes, balancing work and study may become a challenges that students need to tackle.
“Lifting the hour requirements doesn’t mean international students have to increase their amount of work,” said Jason Bauche, a counsellor at SAIT Student Development and Counselling. “To me, the question that the student face is ‘What am I really here for?’ If I’m here to focus on my studies, then that’s where my focus should be.’”
International student Merida Yu says she’s worried the new measures will make it difficult for some to keep up with their academic achievement.
“When I was working under the 20-hour restriction, I already felt like I don’t have enough time to focus on my studies,” said Yu, who is studying aircraft engineering at SAIT. “It’s quite exhausting after two four-hour classes and work. You can barely study or review.
“Most of the students come to Canada to study and try to get a great job .But if they get distracted by the job, and don’t obtain enough knowledge from their education, then they won’t probably get a decent job.”