Study permit holders can join the work force, but only until they graduate
This year, international students can get a job off-campus without a work permit, but only until they graduate.
Regulations as of June 2014 are meant to make life easier for current students while minimizing abuse of the system, according to settlement and integration counsellor Liza Ferris Ortiz with Kamloops Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.
“Misuse was happening,” she said. “Students were, maybe, being approved for a four-year term and they were just either quitting studies, and I can understand because of the high fees, or reducing their study terms, changing programs and then overstaying and doing work when the main purpose of a study permit is studies.”
Under the new system, international students can work part-time over the school year and full-time during holidays with only a study permit and social insurance number. Students must also be enrolled full-time in a designated learning institution like TRU.
International student Nich Komissirenko has been at TRU since 2012, but said this is the first year he has felt working off-campus was worth the hassle.
“I can find a job and I can work here,” he said. “Usually on campus there isn’t a lot of work and there are a lot of students wanting to work, so it’s very hard to find a job in the university.”
He added that his new job at Aberdeen Mall has made the year easier for him financially.
“It’s easier for me and much easier for my parents,” he said.
While new regulations have streamlined student employment, the window after graduation has narrowed. Under the old system, an international student had until their study permit’s renewal date to remain in Canada, a date that could be up to year after graduation. With the new system, study permits expire 90 days after written confirmation of the program’s end is received (i.e. a transcript or physical degree).
There is concern that, while the new system may help current students, it puts the pressure on recent graduates to get a job quickly after graduation.
Immigration experts, however, also point out that post-graduation work permits allow new graduates to live and work in Canada for the same amount of time as their program, for a maximum of three years.
Graduates of a program two years or longer are eligible for a three-year permit. Applications must be made within 90 days of written confirmation of graduation.
International student Harlen Chung said he is not concerned about the new expiry regulations, since he can get a work permit after he graduates next year.
“As long as it’s not like Vancouver, Toronto, any of those big cities, I’m not worried about [finding work],” he said.
According to Ortiz, application for a post-graduate work permit can take a month or longer, depending on backlog. She advised students to apply for the permit as soon as they know they have passed their program.
“There is only one chance,” she said. “You only have 90 days and that’s that.”
Work done with a post-graduate work permit can go towards permanent residency as long as the job is Class 0 (management), Class A (university education required), or Class B (college or skilled apprenticeship needed) under the National Occupation Classification.
TRUSU did its part to help international students along by holding a student visa and immigration workshop on Oct. 28.