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New work permits for foreign students

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As of now, foreign students studying in Canada can apply for off-campus work permits, Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced today.

"Foreign students make a significant contribution to Canada," said the Minister. "They enrich campus and community life with new ideas and new cultures, and they are an important pool of potential future skilled workers that Canadian businesses need to remain competitive."

Still, it will not be that easy to receive a work permit under this scheme as foreign students will have to compete for employment on an equal basis with Canadians.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has signed agreements with most provinces to implement the program, and agreements with New Brunswick and the Yukon are currently being finalized. The agreements allow eligible foreign students at public post-secondary institutions to work off-campus for up to 20 hours a week during the school year and full-time during study breaks.

Eligible foreign students can apply for an off-campus work permit immediately, and may be able to work off-campus as early as this summer. The work permit is valid for the duration of their study permit.

"CIC is working in cooperation with the provinces and territories to make Canada a destination of choice by making it easier for foreign students to work in Canada during and after their studies," said Minister Solberg."Off-campus work agreements will make it easier for students to gain work experience in the Canadian labour market and earn extra income while studying," he said.

The Canadian Federation of Students, the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, who have all been consulted on the initiative, support efforts to make it easier for foreign students to work in Canada.

Foreign students contribute approximately $4 billion a year to Canada's economy. There are about 100,000 foreign students in Canada who could be eligible for work permits under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.