Off-Campus Work Permit Program Launched
Ottawa, April 27, 2006 — Foreign students
studying in Canada can apply for off-campus work permits
effective immediately, the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister
of Citizenship and Immigration, announced today.
“Foreign students make a significant contribution to
Canada,” said the Minister. “They enrich campus and community
life with new ideas and new cultures, and they are an
important pool of potential future skilled workers that
Canadian businesses need to remain competitive.”
Foreign students contribute approximately $4 billion a year
to Canada’s economy. There are about 100,000 foreign students
in Canada who could be eligible for work permits under the
Off-Campus Work Permit Program.
The program is not intended to take jobs away from Canadian
students. Each applicant will be required to compete for
employment on an equal basis with Canadians.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has signed
agreements with most provinces to implement the program, and
agreements with New Brunswick and the Yukon are currently
being finalized. The agreements allow eligible foreign
students at public post-secondary institutions to work
off-campus for up to 20 hours a week during the school year
and full-time during study breaks.
Eligible foreign students can apply for an off-campus work
permit immediately, and may be able to work off-campus as
early as this summer. The work permit is valid for the
duration of their study permit.
“CIC is working in cooperation with the provinces and
territories to make Canada a destination of choice by making
it easier for foreign students to work in Canada during and
after their studies,” said Minister Solberg. “Off-campus work
agreements will make it easier for students to gain work
experience in the Canadian labour market and earn extra income
while studying,” he said.
The Canadian Federation of Students, the Fédération
étudiante universitaire du Québec, the Association of
Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Association of
Canadian Community Colleges, who have all been consulted on
the initiative, support efforts to make it easier for foreign
students to work in Canada.
“With Canadian work experience, foreign students will be
able to integrate into the Canadian labour force more quickly.
This will help address skilled labour shortages in Canada,”
said Minister Solberg.
For more information (media only):
Director of Communications
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Media relations spokesperson
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Spokespeople for the following organizations are aware of the
initiative, and are prepared to comment on the announcement:
Canadian Federation of Students
Fédération étudiante universitaire
Association of Canadian Community
Vice-President, Business Development and Technical Cooperation
(613) 746-2222, ext. 3872
Association of Universities and
Colleges of Canada
Media Relations Officer
(613) 563-3961, ext. 330
Work Programs for Foreign Students
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is helping
eligible foreign students gain valuable Canadian work
experience by giving them the same opportunity to work as
In 2005, more than 50,000 new foreign students came to
Canada to study in post-secondary institutions. On December 1,
2005, there were more than 152,000 foreign students studying
Off-Campus Work Permit Program
CIC implemented a pilot Off-Campus Work Permit Program in
Manitoba in 2003. Pilots programs were added in Quebec and New
Brunswick in 2004. Before these programs were in place,
students were restricted to holding jobs on the campus at
which they were studying. Following the success of the pilots,
the program is now being implemented nationally.
In order to be eligible for the program, foreign students
must have a valid study permit, and they must have studied
full-time at an eligible public, post-secondary institution
for at least six months out of the 12 months preceding their
application. Institutions must sign an agreement with the
province or territory in which they are located in order to
participate in the program. The agreement includes monitoring
and reporting requirements to ensure that students retain
their eligibility for the program.
Under agreements with the provinces, eligible full-time
students who retain satisfactory academic standing can apply
to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week off-campus while
classes are in session and full-time during scheduled breaks
(including summer or winter holidays and reading weeks).
Exchange students, students enrolled in English- or
French-as-a-second-language programs, and students who have
received awards from the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship
Program, the Government of Canada Awards Program or the
Canadian International Development Agency are not eligible for
work permits under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.
About 100,000 foreign students who are studying in Canada
could be eligible to apply for work permits under the
Off-Campus Work Permit Program.
Post-Graduation Work Program
Until 2003, foreign students who graduated from a
post-secondary institution in Canada could receive a one-year
permit to work in Canada in their field of study if they met
the eligibility criteria.
Between 2003 and 2005, CIC implemented post-graduation work
permit extension pilot projects in New Brunswick, Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Under the pilot projects, students could renew their work
permits for an additional year, which allowed them to work for
a total of two years in Canada after they graduated. The
pilots were replaced by a national post-graduation work
program in May 2005.
The Post-Graduation Work Program is available to all
eligible foreign students who would like to gain Canadian work
experience in their field of study after graduation. In 2005,
CIC added a “bonus” year for graduates outside Montréal,
Toronto and Vancouver who intend to work outside these three
major centres. This helps spread the benefits of immigration
to more of Canada’s regions since nearly 80 percent of
Canada’s foreign students are enrolled in institutions in
Toronto, Montréal or Vancouver.
Other Work Opportunities for Foreign Students
Spouses and common-law partners of foreign students can
also apply for work permits if they meet the eligibility
criteria (for more information, see the link to the CIC Web
While CIC encourages recent graduates to remain in Canada
to help address the shortage of skilled workers and to
increase our global competitiveness, many choose to return to
their home country after completing their studies. When they
enter the work force, they act as ambassadors for Canada and
help increase international understanding and cooperation. In
addition, they provide good business contacts for Canada and
For more information on work opportunities for students,