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IRCC to provide more flexibility for work permit holders to also study in Canada

On June 27th, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced a new temporary measure that will remove the limit on the length of study programs that temporary foreign workers can enrol in without a study permit. Through this measure, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is recognizing that foreign workers can face barriers in the types of study programs they are allowed to pursue to get additional training and education that will help them in their careers.

Prior to this change, foreign workers could study while working, but only in programs of 6 months or less. If they wanted to enrol in a longer program, they would have to apply for a separate study permit. This has been a hurdle for foreign workers who want to improve their education and receive more training, especially those needing to validate their foreign credentials through certain programs.

The new temporary measure will last three years. Foreign workers will be able to study full or part time while holding a valid work permit, with no restrictions on the length of the program.

The temporary measure will apply to those who hold a valid work permit or have a pending decision on their work permit extension on June 27, 2023. However, if a foreign worker wants to study longer than the duration of their work permit, they will need to apply for a study permit.

The measure will help foreign workers expand their future job prospects. It will also expand their opportunities to transition to permanent residence by increasing their Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) through higher levels of education or by gaining qualifying work experience.

“With this policy in place, we hope to empower foreign nationals to improve their skills in order 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 labourers to become tradespersons, and strengthen our communities and build new homes. This immigration measure helps employers, workers, and our economy by addressing critical labour shortages.” said Sean Fraser.

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