Every year, tens of thousands of temporary workers from abroad contribute their expertise to Canada, assisting in the growth of our economy and addressing significant labor market needs. Although foreign employees are vital to Canada’s success, they occasionally encounter restrictions on study programs they want to register in to pursue their goals and seize new chances.
Generally, foreign employees can often pursue education while working, but only in courses lasting less than six months; for courses lasting longer than that, they must separately apply for a study visa.
Canada now moves forward with empowering international talents through the extension of study authorization for work permit holders. By intertwining education and work, Canada creates an enriching environment where dreams can be realized, skills can be honed, and futures can be shaped.
On June 27, the extension of study authorization for Work Permit Holders was recommended as a new temporary policy by the honorable Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Sean Fraser. With the policy, there is no longer a time limit on how long temporary foreign employees can engage in study programs without study permission.
“Temporary foreign workers are incredibly important for the Canadian economy, and many have aspirations that go far beyond the work that initially brings them to Canada. With this policy in place, we hope to empower foreign nationals to improve their skills to meet their career goals and achieve their dreams, while providing a future potential source of talent for our labour market. By removing barriers to skills development, we open the door to more foreign-trained doctors and nurses to help take care of our loved ones and support our healthcare system. We also provide a path for construction laborers to become tradespersons, strengthen our communities and build new homes. This immigration measure helps employers, workers, and our economy by addressing critical labor shortages. This is welcome news for all parties involved.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Before this policy change, foreign employees can study while working, however only in courses lasting six months or fewer. For extended programs, they are required to submit an additional study permit. This has been a roadblock for those who want to advance their education and training, especially those who seek to upskill or verify their international credentials through specific programs.
Now, foreign workers will have the opportunity to acquire further education and training that will help them in their jobs. This measure will also increase work opportunities for many foreign nationals and the possibility of finding long-term settlement options.
With this new temporary measure in place for three years (i.e., from June 27, 2023, to June 26, 2026), international employees are free to enroll in full- or part-time studies for as long as their work permits are in effect or until the policy’s expiration.
People who are eligible to work and who have a current work permit—or who have applied to renew their work permit—on or before June 7, 2023, are subject to this policy change. If foreign workers want to continue their education beyond the time allowed by their work permit, they must still file for a study visa.