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Employing International Students
More than 130,000 international students come to Canada to study every year. Students are a great resource pool for your short-term and long-term hiring needs, international students included. There is a misconception that hiring international students is difficult due to immigration restrictions. That is all history as on-going updates and changes have made it easier than ever to tap into the international student talent market.
All international students must obtain work permits for any type of employment, even co-op placements or unpaid internships. However, work permits are easily obtained. Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) has several programs facilitating the employment of international students.
Students can apply for work permits on their own, without employer involvement for:
- Co-op placements which are considered an essential and integral part of their study program
- MBA Internships which are a mandatory and integral part of their study program
- Part-time employment (up to 20 hours per week) while studying and full-time employment during scheduled breaks. (This is called the “off-campus work permit”.)
- Post-graduation employment, effective April 21st, 2008 international students are 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 the country. Previously, the program only allowed international students to work for one or two years, depending on location. The student must apply for this work permit within 90 days of graduation. (This is called the "post-graduation work permit")
More information and application kits for students can be found at www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work.asp
To retain international students beyond the one year post-graduation work permit program, employers willing to play a more active part can:
- Apply for a Labour Market Opinion for two years from Service Canada. (Service Canada is responsible for reviewing local labour market information and providing an opinion to CIC regarding the impact of hiring a foreign worker.) To receive approval from Service Canada to hire your recent graduate, employers are not required to provide evidence of recruitment efforts, but do need to pay appropriate wages. For more information on the Labour Market Opinion process see www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/gateways/nav/top_nav/program/fw.shtml
- Sponsor your recent graduate under the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) for permanent residence in Canada. The BC PNP allows employers to nominate current or prospective employees to support the employee’s application for permanent residence. Acceptance into the BC PNP results in expedited processing of the permanent resident application. Acceptance also allows the Provincial Nominee (the employee) to apply for a work permit and maintain it until permanent resident status is granted. Once permanent residence status is granted, the recent graduate can work indefinitely for any employer. The BC PNP has a special category for International Graduates. For more information see www.ecdev.gov.bc.ca/ProgramsAndServices/PNP/index.htm.
This Canadian immigration information provides a general overview of the options in hiring and retaining international students. For more detailed information that may help with specific cases, please refer to the links provided, or contact: