Canada removes barriers for international students working in essential services

Canada removes barriers for international students working in essential services
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The federal government has announced it will be removing barriers for international students working in essential services during COVID-19.

The Government of Canada has announced it will be removing restrictive barriers for international students working in essential services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada said on Wednesday that a temporary rule change for international students is being put in place, aimed at helping healthcare centres and other facilities under pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting immediately, the government will remove the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

“Immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students are making important contributions as frontline workers in health care and other essential service sectors. We know and value their efforts and sacrifices to keep Canadians healthy and ensure the delivery of critical goods and services,” said Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.

According to a press release issued by the federal government, workers in certain roles and industries have been under considerable pressure during the COVID-19 outbreak and international students who are already present in Canada will help meet the challenges of the pandemic.

The government added that thousands of international students are studying in health and emergency service-related programs, including many who are nearly fully trained and ready to graduate.

The rule change is said by the government to be temporary, as access to well-trained workers are badly needed during the coronavirus crisis. The restrictions will be lifted until August 31, 2020.

Back in 2017–2018, Statistics Canada reported more than 11,000 international students were enrolled in health-care programs at Canada’s universities and colleges, representing about 4% of health-care students at that time.

The announcement came on the same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled details of a $9 billion emergency fund for post-secondary students. The student plan was geared towards helping those who are not currently eligible for other government aid programs.


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