In a recent development, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, The Honourable Marc Miller, has confirmed the extension of the waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for international students working off-campus while classes are in session. The decision, communicated in response to a letter from the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, underscores the importance of international students contributing culturally, socially, and economically to Canada. 

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, led by CEO Morgan Peters, had earlier penned a letter on December 11, 2023, urging the Minister to maintain the lifting of the work-hour cap. The letter highlighted the Chamber’s consistent efforts on this matter, citing their 2021 Canadian Chamber of Commerce Policy Resolution that advocated for the removal of restrictions on international students’ work hours. 

In response to the Chamber’s plea, Minister Marc Miller expressed appreciation for the cultural and economic contributions of international students to Canada. The waiver, initially introduced in October 2022, aimed to provide greater opportunities for international students to gain valuable work experience while supporting Canada’s post-pandemic growth. 

The Minister’s letter, dated December 20, 2023, announced the extension of the waiver until April 30, 2024. This extension applies to international students already in Canada, as well as those who applied for a study permit as of December 7, 2023. During this period, these students will be able to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week. 

While acknowledging the significance of international students’ contributions, Minister Miller emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring that students primarily come to Canada to study. The letter also conveyed ongoing considerations for the future of this policy, with a focus on striking a balance between studies and valuable workplace experience. 

The decision to extend the waiver reflects the government’s recognition of the essential role played by international students in the Canadian labour market. With about a million international students already here in Canada, the move aims to not only meet the needs of Canadian employers but also provide students with the means to cover living expenses in the current challenging economic environment. 

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, having actively advocated for this extension, sees the decision as crucial for attracting and retaining international students, fostering community connections, and ultimately contributing to Canada’s growth and development. As the government continues to examine options for the future, the balancing act between study and work for international students remains a key consideration.

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