April 27, 2008
Big Changes for International Students!
In the middle of all these immigration changes and many of the concerns there is some really good news for international students. The changes to the international student immigration program include extending the duration of a work permit to three years across the country for those whose program of study is at least two years providing the flexibility for new graduates to work in any field and not just their field of study; and removing the requirement to have a job offer.
A student could even hold two jobs at one time and change employers as they desire.
The backgrounder issued from Citizenship and Immigration Canada includes:
Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows most international students who have graduated from an eligible program at a post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. A minimum of one year of work experience in managerial, professional or technical positions (i.e., at level 0, A or B under the National Occupational Classification system) will be necessary to apply to stay permanently through the Canadian Experience Class.
The changes to the program include extending the duration of the work permit to three years across the country for those whose program of study is at least two years (previously, permits could be granted for only one or two years, depending on location); providing the flexibility for new graduates to work in any field and not just their field of study; and removing the requirement to have a job offer.
To be eligible for the program, international students:
Must have studied full-time for the eight months preceding the completion of their program of studies and have graduated from:
a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, university or CEGEP (in Quebec); or
a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions, and that receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently, only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify); or
a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial or territorial statute to confer degrees.
Must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from the institution that they have met the requirements of the academic program.
Must have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification that they are eligible to obtain their degree, diploma or certificate.
Must have a valid study permit when they apply for the work permit.
Note that if the student’s program of study is less than two years but at least eight months, the student would be eligible for a post-graduate work permit. However, the validity period of the work permit must not be longer than the period of study of the graduate at the particular post-secondary institution in Canada.
International students not eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program include the following:
Students participating in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program or a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Students receiving funding from the Canadian International Development Agency and participating in a distance learning program.
Students who have previously been issued a post-graduation work permit after any other program of study. However, note that graduates who are already working with a work permit issued under the previous rules are eligible to apply for an extension.