New Delhi, May 2 (UNI) Foreign students in Canada can now apply for off-campus work permits to earn some extra income while they learn.
The step that will help more than 100,000 foreign students, including Indians, was announced by Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg.
Eligible foreign students can apply for off-campus work permit immediately and may be able to work as early as this summer. The work permit is valid for the duration of their study permit, the Canadian High Commission said today.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has signed agreements with most provinces to implement the programme and agreements with two more provinces - New Brunswick and the Yukon - are currently being finalised.
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.
''Foreign students make a significant contribution to Canada,'' the High Commission quoted Mr Solberg as saying. ''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.'' Foreign students contribute approximately 4 billion Canadian dollars (about Rs 1,700 crore) to Canada's economy every year. There are about 125,000 foreign students in Canada who could be eligible for work permits under the Off-Campus Work Permit Programme.
Each foreign applicant will be required to compete for employment on an equal basis with Canadians.
All major students unions including the Canadian Federation of Students and the Students' Federation of University of Quebec, have supported the initiative, the High Commission said.
Last year alone, more than 50,000 new foreign students came to Canada to study in post-secondary institutions.
Under agreements with the provinces, eligible full-time students who retain satisfactory academic standing can apply to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week off-campus while classes are in session and full-time during scheduled breaks (including summer or winter holidays and reading weeks).
Spouses and common-law partners of foreign students can also apply for work permits if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Exchange students, students enrolled in English or French as second language programmes, and students who have received awards from the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Programme, the Government of Canada Awards Programme or the Canadian International Development Agency are not eligible for work permits.
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