International post-graduate students in Canada until now were allowed to work only part-time for 20 hours every week. The part-time rule was applicable during the regular academic session whereas during school breaks the government allowed them to work 20 hours more/ week. But the working hours have now been extended by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
According to the IRCC’s announcement made on April 22, 2020, international students involved in essential services can now work full-time even during academic sessions. The rule will be applicable until August 31, 2020.
Canada Taking Help Of International Students During COVID-19 Crisis
The new rule will allow international students to work in critical areas of need like healthcare to contribute their services during the COVID-19 crisis. It is also expected to lessen the burden on regular healthcare workers. The normal restrictions of working part-time during school sessions have been applied to ensure that the students do not end up with less time at hand for their studies during their stay in Canada.
However, the 20-hour period gives them enough experience of working in the labor market of the country. This experience is invaluable and helps them when they become professional and start working independently.
Making The Best Use Of Available Human Resources
The school closures started after WHO declared a global pandemic on March 11. Many schools immediately started online distance learning. The closedown worried the international students who were desperate to know about their immigration status. IRCC made its first announcement post lockdown on March 13 confirming that transiting to online distance learning forced due to the COVID-19 crisis will not in any way affect the eligibility of students desirous of acquiring post-graduation work permit (PGWP).
The announcement was important because in normal course students who earn most of their credit score through online distance learning cannot qualify for PGWP application. The latest announcement by IRCC, however, has made the position of post-graduate international students who are working in the essential services field stronger. The federal government has already come out with a list of services that are being categorized under essential.
The list has been developed by Public Safety Canada and the services that are being considered essential about the current COVID-19 crisis have been included in it. The essential services that are a part of this list include:
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Energy and Utilities
- Government and Other services
The list is tentative and the decision rests on provincial or territorial governments.
However, students not under essential services will not be benefitted by these new rules of IRCC. With this new rule, Canada is trying to make the best use of whatever resources that is currently available at its behest. The international students doing postgraduate represent a capable workforce. Since thousands of such students are enrolled in healthcare and that too in diverse sectors, their experience, as well as expertise, is sure to benefit the country in a big way.