A test project was announced today by Parliamentary Secretary Ed Komarnicki and Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology Doug Horner, which will expand the Off-Campus work permit program to allow students from select private educational institutions in Alberta, Canada to obtain off-campus work permits.
International students attending the select private institutions and enrolling in specific qualifying programs are now eligible to apply.
The institutions included Ambrose University College, Canadian University College, Concordia University College of Alberta, St. Mary's University College, Taylor University College and Seminary, and The King's University College.
Previously, only international students attending public universities could apply.
"This pilot will allow more international students studying in Canada to work off-campus, to contribute to our economy, and to gain Canadian work experience," Komarnicki said, speaking on behalf of Immigration Minister Diane Finley.
"The expansion of the Off-Campus Work Permit Program provides more international students with an opportunity to participate in one of the most robust labour markets in Canada," said Horner. "I am confident that their experiences will convince many of them to establish careers in Alberta following graduation."
The test project is being implemented on a province-by-province basis. Following extensive consultations, the Canadian government and Alberta have agreed to implement the project for only those programs and institutions that offer degrees recognized or authorized in Alberta. The Government of Canada is currently discussing the implementation of pilots with other interested provinces.
"The Off-Campus Work Permit Program is of tremendous importance to all international students currently enrolled at Concordia," said Dr. Gerald Krispin, President of Concordia University College of Alberta.
"This program provides significant work and career opportunities that will benefit both the students themselves and the Canadian economy, to which they can now contribute," he said.
The Off-Campus Work Permit program was launched on 27 April 2006 and has benefited thousands of international students in Canada. Before the program began, students were restricted to working on-campus at the institution they were currently attending.