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Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah discusses updates and news for international students in Canada. Evelyn covers information international students need to know about studying and working in Canada, and what Canadian employers who hire international students need to know including:
- foreign students on a study permit can now work up to 40 hours a week due to the labour shortage
- how international students can benefit from the experience category of the Canadian Experience Class to apply for permanent residence
- benefits of an academic program that provides international students a minimum of 12 months of work experience
- what Canadian employers need to know about hiring international students on a study permit
About Evelyn Ackah
Evelyn Ackah is the Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law. We work with individuals and business owners from all over the world who want to cross borders seamlessly. For more information on immigration to Canada or the United States, Ask Evelyn Ackah at Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (403) 452‑9515 or email Evelyn directly at [email protected].
The Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah podcast by Calgary Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah was named #1 Best Canada Immigration Podcast in 2022 by Feedspot.
Good day, everyone. This is Evelyn Ackah from Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah podcast, as well as the Ackah Law LinkedIn Live. I'm really thrilled to be here with you today because I want to talk about updates and news on international students and what's happening with respect to foreign students here in Canada.
If you happen to be a foreign student, you will know that you are allowed to work if you're a full-time academic student in Canada, and your ability to work has been limited to 20 hours a week until very recently. Just earlier this month, the federal government has now allowed foreign students to work up to 40 hours a week, so long as they meet the criteria that they previously had a study permit that was already being applied for, or they were in possession of a study permit already. So if you are an employer and you are approached by a foreign student who wants to work, you need to know that you're able to employ them full-time as long as they're able to maintain their full studies as well.
This was a change that the federal government made given the increasing need for labour in Canada, as well as this ability for foreign students to be able to work and help them offset the significant costs of their foreign studies here in Canada.
So this is one of the major changes for foreign students, and it is a pilot that's supposed to end as of next November 2023. And at that point, the immigration and refugee minister will be able to assess whether this is a program they want to keep because it's working for both students as well as employers, or if it's going to be a pilot that will no longer be continued. Based on my experience as an immigration lawyer for the last 23 years, usually when a pilot is announced, it usually becomes a permanent program. And so, this is something for foreign students that are international that are looking to move to Canada, may want to consider this, as well as something that might be available to them when they apply for school in the years to come.
As we know, many foreign students who come to Canada want to stay in Canada, and we want them to stay in Canada because they're highly educated, they're adapted to the Canadian society, and they already have fabulous education gained here in Canada as well as abroad before they came to Canada. So many students are focused on looking at how they can move to Canada as permanent residents when they finish school. Many provinces allow for postgraduate work permits when school is finished, and this, again, is another great program that the government has allowed so that when students go to school and they're able to complete their program successfully, then they're able to move to working full time, anywhere from one to three years, depending on the length of their academic program.
So the benefit for them is that they're able to garner 12 months minimum of working full time in a skilled position, in a category that is skilled, which used to be previously the not code, which is now called Tier. It's been changed. Zero A or B, they're able to apply for themselves under either the provincial nominee programs in the province that they went to school in and worked in or under the Canadian Experience Class, the CEC, permanent residence under the federal stream.
So this is one of the things that I really want to make sure international students are fully aware of. There are streams to permanent residence. It could be either the provincial stream. For instance here in Alberta, we have a great provincial stream, so does BC. And as I've indicated, almost every province has a stream. There are different criteria, so you need to consider whether or not this criteria works for you. Did you go to school in the province? Did you meet all the specific requirements to qualify?
Another option would be under the experience category of the Canadian Experience Class to apply for permanent residence. Currently, permanent residence processing is taking about a year and a half, sometimes even longer. So in order to continue to ensure that you can work, you must make sure you have a work permit that allows you to continue to work while you're waiting for either the approval and principle of your PR. And then at that point, you can apply for bridging work permit so you can continue working while you're waiting for your permanent residence to be completed. So this really is focusing on the ability to keep working and the ability to maintain study status as a full-time student.
Sometimes people contact us and because of finances or other reasons they've dropped out of school or they may not have been successful in school and have not graduated. If you have not graduated, the postgraduate stream is not available for you and you're going to have to look at other options, but you must have graduated to be successful in Canada to apply for permanent residence, and then, eventually, Canadian citizenship.
We always want people to be aware of the options and don't wait too long because a lot of times we see people who are thinking about, "I'll do a short term program, and then I'm going to convert to postgraduate, and then I'm going to work," but they may not have enough time if they're waiting for either selection for the province or they're waiting to finish their PR process. I usually recommend that people coming to school do at least a minimum of 18 months to 24 month program. It does not have to be an academic program... Sorry, it doesn't have to be a four year degree program, but it must be a program that will give them enough time to work for minimum of 12 months. And that's assuming as well that they get a job right away. Doesn't always happen. So you need to build in some of that time to be successful as an immigrant to Canada through the postgraduate and through the academic stream.
So today, I really is going to be a short LinkedIn live. We want you to be able to contact us at Ackah Business Immigration Law if you have any questions at all about your specific situation. Sometimes even foreign students will require an employer to sponsor them under the Labor Market Impact Assessment if they don't have enough time by way of the post.
Graduate work permit. So these are some of the updates I wanted to let you know about and make sure as an employer as well who you're hiring, that they meet the criteria, that they're legally able to work, especially if they say they're able to work full time, you need to be certain that the people you're looking to employ meet the criteria. It is not for every single foreign student. So if you want to verify and check that, please give us a call at Ackah Business Immigration Law. The number again is 403-452-9515. We'd be happy to help assess and make sure that you're hiring somebody who is qualified and legally entitled to work full time.
We also want to ask you, if you don't mind, we've been nominated again as the Top Choice nominee for the Best Immigration Law Firm in Calgary, and we've won this several years before. We'd love to win again. So if you could help us out by completing the link below to take you to Top Choice and look for Ackah Business Immigration Law, we would love it if you would give us a five star rating and vote for us so that we can, again, have the ability to win this nomination to be able to continue providing the services we provide every day to our clients in Calgary and beyond.
Thanks again for joining us on this LinkedIn Live, as well as the Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah podcast. Take care and stay safe. Bye-bye.