Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

May 20, 2008 12:33 ET

Government of Canada Extends Off-Campus Work Program to International Students in Private Institutions

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 20, 2008) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Honourable Wally Oppal, B.C. Attorney General and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, and Honourable Murray Coell, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, today announced a pilot expansion of the Off-Campus Work Permit Program for international students in British Columbia.

Effective immediately, international students studying at eligible private post-secondary institutions in British Columbia can now apply for off-campus work permits. Previously, only international students at public universities and colleges in the province were able to apply.

"The Government of Canada is committed to attracting newcomers to Canada, and helping them succeed once they arrive," said Minister Finley. "This pilot will provide more international students with opportunities to work off-campus and to gain Canadian work experience. It complements our recent improvements to the post-graduate work program and our efforts to make Canada a more attractive choice for international students."

On April 21, the Government of Canada announced that under the Post-Graduate Work Permit program international students will be able to obtain, for the first time, an open three-year work permit with no restrictions on the type of employment and no requirement for a job offer. Students in the OCWP Program can ease into the post-graduate program as the off-campus work permit is valid for up to 90 days after graduation, thus allowing them to search for post-graduation jobs.

"The Province of British Columbia sees increases in immigration, temporary workers and international students as key to helping B.C. achieve its economic goals for the coming decade," said Minister Oppal. "The expansion of this program will assist international students in our province to obtain work and potentially to choose British Columbia as their future home."

"This pilot will provide international students with more options to help further their studies," said Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell. "We appreciate the enrichment international students bring to British Columbia and encourage potential students to experience B.C. as the best place on earth to live, work and play."

Giving students access to off-campus work permits also gives Canadian institutions a competitive advantage for attracting the best and brightest international students.

Following extensive consultations, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia agreed that only those enrolled in qualifying programs offered by an eligible institution authorized to grant degrees will be eligible for the OCWP pilot expansion. Eligible institution also means a Canadian privately-funded post-secondary education institution that is located in a participating province or territory.

The pilot will be in place for a four-year period, after which point a comprehensive review will be undertaken by the province. The pilot project is being implemented on a province-by-province basis. British Columbia is the third province to participate in the pilot, following Manitoba and Alberta.

For information, please visit the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.

Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Tim Vail
    Press Secretary
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Communications Branch
    Media Relations
    B.C Ministry of Advanced Education
    Linda O'Connor
    Communications Manager