Immigrating students to Canada may have a number of questions pertaining to volunteering and work permit. Although they are permitted to work as interns if the course they have signed for permits them to do so, they are in no ability to compete with Canadian citizens in daily employment avenues unless they have a proper work permit.
Volunteering in some cases involve stipends or money, which is not permitted under the IRCC’s student immigration law.
As per the definition of IRCC, work is defined as an activity that you are or could be paid for, and which takes work away from Canadian citizens and poses unnecessary competition. Even if it is an unpaid work, it is something that creates competition for other eligible Canadians.
You can still take up volunteering if you follow the following steps without fail:
Do not volunteer for jobs that are usually paid jobs: For instance, if you are ready for the skilled workforce, you should not be volunteering in your chosen field because that might up land up in a paid opportunity.
Do not volunteer for an unpaid job that might lead to a paid position: There are certain jobs that are accepted with the expectation of being absorbed after a certain period of time. This is in direct competition with Canadians in the labor market, which is unacceptable by the Canadian government.
Non-commercial domains or farming may not require a work permit: If students are working on gardens of their landlords or working in the fields in return for accommodation, work permit is not required. However, there is a stipulated time frame till when the employment can be considered without work permit. Students can be hired for such work for up to four weeks per host.
Volunteering in Canada- Permitted Activities
The activities that are permitted to foreign students include:
- Volunteering on the line at a rape crisis center or being the ‘big brother’ or a ‘big sister’ to child since these activities are for a limited period of time and incidental by nature.
- Sampling for a geo-scientist or a clerical job which do not have a significant contribution to the productivity of an organization.
- Helping a friend or family during a visit
To be specific, here are a few exceptions when the students do not need work permit:
- On-campus employment
- Healthcare interns on students on practicum as required by the course they have been opted for. The primary purpose of a practicum is to acquire training. These positions are therefore unpaid for and should not extend 4 months’ duration.
If you have any doubts pertaining to immigration and the laws regulating the land, consult an immigration officer. It must be remembered that flouting the immigration laws or student permit can lead to deportation and other serious punishments.