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Canada introduces more flexible work permits for International Students

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Honourable Diane Finley announced changes to work permits for international students who graduate from eligible programs at certain Canadian post-secondary institutions, making it easier to attract foreign students to Canada. Effective April 21, 2008, and for the first time, these international students would be able to obtain an open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, with no restrictions on the type of employment and no requirement for a job offer. In addition, the duration of the work permit has been extended to three years across Canada. Previously, the program only allowed international students to work for one or two years, depending on location.

The new changes will also help retain skilled workers in Canada. The increased flexibility offered by the expanded program will benefit graduates and employers alike as the program will help international students get important work experience while responding to Canada's labour market needs. Canada will benefit in the long run as the professional experience gained will help graduates meet the requirements to stay permanently in Canada. Canadas ability to retain international graduates with Canadian qualifications, work experience and familiarity with Canadian society will help increase our competitiveness and benefit Canada as a whole.

"The Government of Canada wants more foreign students to choose Canada and we want to help them succeed," said The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration . "Open and longer work permits provide international students with more opportunities for Canadian work experience and skills development. This will, in turn, help make Canada a destination of choice, and help us keep international students already studying in Canada."

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows most international students who have graduated from an eligible program at a post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. A minimum of one year of work experience in managerial, professional or technical positions is necessary to apply to stay permanently through the Canadian Experience Class. To be eligible for the program, international students

  • Must have studied full-time for the eight months preceding the completion of their program of studies and have graduated from:
  • Must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from the institution that they have met the requirements of the academic program.
  • Must have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification that they are eligible to obtain their degree, diploma or certificate.
  • Must have a valid study permit when they apply for the work permit.

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