Work permits now easier to get for international students

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Come June 1, it will be more tempting for international students to study in Canada, but no easier to gain permanent residence.

Under the current Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) regulations, international students with a valid study permit are allowed to work on campus. However, those seeking jobs off campus must apply for a work permit that allows them to work 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time on breaks.

New CIC rules will streamline regulations by automatically allowing students to work under the same guidelines without having to apply for a second work permit.

“It will help with the financial burden for international students because they can work right away,” said Inderjit Kaur, 21, who came from India to study computer science at Langara. She works part time at a pizza shop.

Ajay Patel, Dean of International Education / MIKE HODDER photo
Ajay Patel, Dean of International Education / MIKE HODDER photo

The government is hoping the new regulations will make studying in Canada more attractive to international students, who contribute more than $8 billion to the Canadian economy each year, according to the CIC website.

“Given Vancouver is a preferred destination for many students, with the new changes, we hope to continue to attract students from around the world to come and study at Langara and add to our rich culture and quality learning environment,” said Ajay Patel, Langara’s Dean of International Education.

But not everyone thinks the changes will make much of a difference.

“I think overall these changes provide some very modest help in the short term,” said UBC law professor Catherine Dauvergne, an immigration policy expert. “This facilitates working off campus but it was not impossible to do so before.”

According to Dauvergne, the new regulations are logical but fall short of the bigger issue for international students, many of whom apply for permanent residency.

“This is nice for international students, but the really big problem with visas [is] that it can take forever to get them. They can be turned down for reasons that are not at all transparent and sometimes people can be denied the right to take their families with them, which makes it very hard to study in Canada,” Dauvergne said.

“Those are the real problems and these changes don’t address any of them.”

Reported by Mike Hodder

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