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Lifting the work limit may jeopardize the International Student Program

Public servants warned in 2022 that allowing international students to work more than 20 hours a week could distract them from their studies and affect temporary foreign worker programs. This was noted when Ottawa considered waiving the restriction on off-campus work hours for these students— a policy later implemented. While it could alleviate labour shortages, it could also lead to other issues. The international student program, which has tripled in size over a decade, has faced criticism for being a loophole to permanent residency. The government has introduced a cap on study permits to manage the program. Despite concerns, the work hour restriction was waived until 2023 to manage labour shortages and extended until 2024. Minister Marc Miller stated this was a temporary measure, and a permanent cap between 20 and 40 hours is being considered to balance work experience, financial needs, and academic focus.

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