Date: June 27, 2023
The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Sean Fraser, has introduced a new rule that lets temporary foreign workers study in Canada without a study permit for as long as they want. Before, there was a limit on how long they could study without a permit. But now, they have the chance to get more education and training to help them in their careers. This change will also increase their chances of becoming permanent residents in the future. It’s a temporary rule that will last for three years.
In Canada, temporary foreign workers contribute significantly to the economy and fill essential gaps in the labor market. However, these workers often face limitations when it comes to pursuing their desired study programs, hindering their ability to create new opportunities and achieve their dreams. In response to this challenge, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has announced a new temporary measure that removes the restrictions on the duration of study programs available to temporary foreign workers without a study permit.
Details of the Measure:
Effective immediately, foreign workers holding valid work permits or pending work permit extension decisions as of June 7, 2023, will have the opportunity to pursue additional training and education without the need for a separate study permit. This measure enables foreign workers to expand their career prospects, enhance their skills, and increase their chances of transitioning to permanent residence.
Previously, foreign workers could engage in studies while working, but only in programs lasting six months or less. This limitation posed a barrier for individuals seeking to improve their education, gain additional training, or validate their foreign credentials through specific programs. However, with the implementation of this three-year temporary measure, foreign workers can now enroll in study programs of any length, either on a full-time or part-time basis, for as long as their work permits remain valid or until the policy expires.
Importance and Implications:
This policy change recognizes the vital role played by temporary foreign workers in the Canadian economy and aims to empower them to pursue their career goals and aspirations. By removing barriers to skills development, the measure seeks to address critical labor shortages and provide opportunities for foreign workers to contribute to sectors such as healthcare and construction. The initiative also benefits employers, workers, and the economy as a whole, while fostering the growth of Canadian communities.
Potential Benefits for Permanent Residence:
While Canadian work experience gained during full-time studies does not count toward eligibility for the Canadian Experience Class, this temporary measure can positively impact foreign nationals’ chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry system. By undertaking further studies, individuals may increase their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores, for example, by acquiring a higher level of education, improving language proficiency, gaining qualifying work experience during part-time studies, or obtaining higher-skilled employment opportunities. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will evaluate the outcomes of this policy and utilize the findings to inform potential future policy changes.
The extension of study authorization for work permit holders marks a significant step in enabling foreign workers to pursue their educational aspirations and unlock their full potential in Canada. By removing limitations on the length of study programs, the government aims to enhance the skills of temporary foreign workers, address labor market gaps, and create a pathway for them to contribute more effectively to the Canadian economy. This policy change aligns with Canada’s reliance on immigration for labor force growth and highlights the country’s commitment to fostering a robust and inclusive society.