Exploring the Impacts of Canada’s New Work Hours for International Students

As Canada announces an increase in the permissible work hours for international students from 20 to 24 hours per week during the academic year, this policy shift opens new avenues for students, hiring managers and recruiters. This change, expected to take effect in the fall of this year, provides an exciting opportunity to reevaluate recruitment strategies and maximize the benefits for all stakeholders involved.

In this blog, we delve into the implications of Canada’s decision to increase work hours for international students.

Enhanced Financial Stability for Students

Extra work hours benefit international students who struggle to balance high living and tuition costs in Canada with limited work opportunities. By allowing students to work up to 24 hours, Canada enables them to better manage their finances without heavily relying on savings or financial aid from back home. Staffing agencies can aid students by providing more job opportunities that fit their academic schedules.

Broader Access to Talent for Employers

For industries experiencing labour shortages, the increased work hours mean a larger pool of available workers. Employers in healthcare, IT, and customer service sectors, where evening and weekend shifts are standard, can benefit significantly. Staffing agencies must proactively form partnerships with educational institutions to ensure a steady supply of eager students ready to fill these roles.

Impact on Academic Commitment and Student Well-being

While the policy is beneficial in many ways, it’s essential to consider the academic and personal well-being of the students. Balancing increased work hours with academic responsibilities might lead to stress and reduced academic performance. In coordination with educational institutions, staffing agencies could offer advice on time management and stress reduction to help students navigate their new responsibilities.

As noted in the CBC News report, “International students already in Canada, as well as applicants who have already submitted an application for a study permit as of December 7, 2023, will be able to work off campus more than 20 hours per week until [April 30, 2024].” This temporary measure helps students manage their finances better but also challenges them to balance work and study effectively.

Opportunities for Skill Development

Working more hours in a field related to their studies can provide students with invaluable hands-on experience, making them more attractive to future employers. Staffing agencies can help students find job opportunities that offer financial compensation and contribute to their professional growth and resume-building.

Ethical Considerations and Support

With the increase in allowable work hours, there is also a higher risk of exploitation. Staffing agencies must ensure all placements adhere to labour laws and fair work practices. They should also provide international students with resources on their rights as workers in Canada, including fair wages, safe work conditions, and how to report unethical treatment.

Long-term Implications for the Canadian Economy

By allowing international students to work more, Canada is helping them financially and integrating them more deeply into the local economy. This can lead to a higher rate of international students applying for permanent residency, thus contributing to the country’s skilled workforce in the long run.

The decision to increase work hours for international students reflects Canada’s recognition of the mutual benefits that extended work privileges can bring to students and the economy. This change allows staffing agencies to reassess their strategies, promote ethical employment practices, and help international students integrate successfully into Canada’s workforce.