York applauds new employment rules for foreign students

Foreign students studying in Ontario can apply for off-campus work permits beginning June 1. The announcement was made by Chris Bentley, provincial minister of training, colleges and universities, and Monte Solberg, federal minister of citizenship and immigration, April 27.

Eligible Ontario foreign students will be able to apply for an off-campus work permit beginning June 1, 2006. All 47 Ontario publicly-assisted colleges and universities have signed an agreement to implement the program in cooperation with the provincial and federal governments.

“We are thrilled by this development,” said Adrian Shubert, York’s associate vice-president, international. “York has long lobbied for this. The prohibition on international students working has been a significant handicap for Canadian universities, even though we are otherwise very attractive in terms of the quality of education we provide and the welcoming nature of Canadian society.

“Recognizing international students’ need to work, Vice-President Sheila Embleton provided funding for York International to run a work-study program for them,” said Shubert, “but, even at the increased number of 150 slots, this was only a very partial solution, given that we have more than 3,000 international students.”

To be eligible for the program, international students must complete six months of full-time study at a public postsecondary institution. To remain eligible, they must maintain their full-time student status, sustain satisfactory academic standing and work no more than 20 hours a week during regular classes.

The Off-Campus Work Permit Program is one of several federal-provincial programs designed to give foreign students experience in the Canadian labour market and make it easier for them to work in Canada after they graduate.

Ineligible international students include exchange students, students enrolled in English or French second language programs, and students who have received awards from the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program, the Government of Canada Awards Program or the Canadian International Development Agency.

For information on how to apply, students should visit the program’s Web site. The York International Web site for student employment also has information about the program.