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Federal government changes employment regulations for international students

By Fabian Mayer, November 13 2014 —

International students can now work 20 hours a week without a work permit after the federal government changed visa regulations on June 1.

Study permits now expire 90 days. If students want to stay longer, they can apply for a post-graduate work permit. The old regulations allowed students to stay until their study permits expire, even if they expired longer than 90 days after graduation.

According to the Government of Canada’s immigration and citizenship website, the new rules will “reduce the potential for fraud or misuse of the program while protecting Canada’s international reputation for high-quality education and improving services for genuine students.”

Briana Huene works as an international student advisor at the University of Calgary’s Centre for International Students and Study Abroad (CISSA). She said the changes lengthen the amount of time students can look for jobs and obtain work permits after graduating.

“They have 90 days to change their status from a student to a worker. Once they’re a worker, depending on how long their post-graduate work permit is valid for, they have that amount of time to obtain a job and work within Canada,” Heune said.

Huene said the changes are generally positive.

“There aren’t a lot of negatives about it. I would say that there is some confusion among students regarding the changes and misinterpretation of what they mean,” Huene said.

Huene encourages students to come to the CISSA office if they are confused about the new rules.

“The biggest thing is making sure students understand how changes to immigration and regulations affect them personally, ” Huene said.

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