Late last week, Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Monte Solberg announced that the new government will begin discussions with interested provinces and territories to begin a pilot project to expand the Off-Campus Work Permit program to include private institutions.
The program allows students increased options to earn income to pay for their expenses, as well as opening up many opportunities for more work experience prior to graduation.
As a result, foreign students attending approximately 75 additional institutions could be eligible to apply for off-campus work permits. The program allows students of post-secondary schools to work off-campus. Currently the program is only available for students of publicly funded universities and colleges.
Launched on 27 April 2006, The Off-Campus Work Permit program has benefited over 8,300 international students in Canada to date. Before the program began, students were restricted to working on-campus at the institution they were currently attending.
"International students contribute to Canada's intellectual and academic environment, and make our university and college campuses centers of rich and diverse cultural exchange," said Solberg. "The proposed expansion gives the Canadian educational system a competitive advantage for attracting the best and brightest from around the world."
As a control measure, the pilot will only apply to programs and institutions recognized or authorized by the provinces and territories to administer degrees.
"We want to help more international students get the Canadian work experience they need to adjust to life in Canada, particularly if they wish to stay. These students will be part of a significant labor pool from which regions facing labor shortages could draw. This is a win-win measure - helping students and helping the community," said Solberg.
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