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New Rules for International Students Working Off Campus

Employers who have international student employees working off campus, at their agencies, are now required to restrict their working hours to 20 hours per week. This comes as the Canadian government recently announced changes to its international student program, which took effect on April 30, 2024.

The announcement reverses a pandemic era exception that allowed international students working off campus to increase their work hours to up to 40 hours per week. This was a substantial increase from the longstanding government stance pre-pandemic of having those hours capped at 20 for off-campus work so students could remain focused on their studies while also ensuring the program does not become a loophole for workers seeking regular full-time employment in Canada.

The only circumstance in which international students can increase their work hours, including working overtime, is during regularly scheduled breaks in school programming.

Employers should note that these changes in eligibility do not constitute a layoff. Employers are, however, required to adjust hours of work for these students to comply with eligibility criteria. If you have not already done so, please ensure that an employee impacted by these changes is moved into their new schedule as soon as possible. The government has stated it anticipates increasing the number of hours an international student can work to 24 hours per week later this year. For the latest details, including eligibility and restrictions, please consult this Government of Canada webpage.

If you have any questions, please contact your HRLR Advocate or Consultant.

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Doris Sun
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