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New IRCC Policy: Foreign Workers Can Now Study in Canada Without Authorization

Canada has always been an attractive destination for foreign workers seeking better opportunities and a higher quality of life. In a recent announcement, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC), introduced a new temporary policy that will benefit foreign workers in Canada. This groundbreaking policy allows temporary foreign workers on work permits to enrol in study programs longer than 6 months without the need for a study visa or permit. In this article, we will delve into the details of this new policy and its implications for foreign workers in Canada.


The New IRCC Policy

The new interim action introduced by IRCC allows all temporary foreign workers who have a work permit or whose work permit extension is still ongoing to enrol in study programs longer than 6 months without the requirement of a study visa or permit. This policy, which came into effect on June 27, will remain in effect for the next 3 years until June 27, 2026.

Previously, work permit holders in Canada needed a study visa or permit if they wanted to enrol in a course longer than 6 months. This restriction often limited the educational opportunities available to foreign workers and hindered their ability to upskill or validate their international credentials through specific programs. However, with the removal of the cap on the duration of study programs for work permit holders, these individuals now have the freedom to pursue full- or part-time studies for as long as their work permits are in effect.


Benefits for Foreign Workers

The new policy opens up a plethora of benefits for foreign workers in Canada. By allowing work permit holders to study without authorization, the Canadian government is providing them with more avenues to enhance their skills, further their education, and expand their career opportunities. Let's explore some of the key benefits of this policy:

1. Improved Employment Options

Foreign workers contribute significantly to Canada's GDP and play a vital role in filling important gaps in the labour market. With the new policy in place, work permit holders can now explore a wider range of employment options. By acquiring additional education and training, these individuals can gain a competitive edge in the job market and increase their chances of securing better career prospects.

2. Pathway to Permanent Residency

For many foreign workers, studying in Canada is a pathway to permanent residency. By integrating education into their work experience, individuals can accumulate points towards their Express Entry profile, which is a key requirement for obtaining permanent residency in Canada. The new policy allows work permit holders to pursue long-term studies, thereby increasing their chances of settling in Canada permanently.

3. International Credential Validation

Foreign workers often face challenges in validating their international credentials in Canada. By enrolling in study programs, work permit holders can confirm their qualifications and gain recognition for their skills and expertise. This validation can significantly enhance their employability and open doors to better career opportunities in Canada.

4. Enhanced Skill Development

The ability to pursue studies without the need for a separate study visa or permit allows work permit holders to enhance their skills and knowledge in specific areas of interest. This could include acquiring industry-specific certifications, mastering new technologies, or gaining advanced qualifications that are in high demand in the Canadian job market.


Eligibility and Requirements

To take advantage of the new policy, work permit holders must meet certain eligibility criteria and fulfill specific requirements. Here are the key details:

1. Valid Work Permit

To enroll in a study program without a study visa or permit, individuals must have a valid work permit in Canada. This includes both open work permits and employer-specific work permits.

2. Ongoing Work Permit Extension

The new policy also covers individuals whose work permit extension is still ongoing. As long as their work permit is valid, they can enrol in studies without the need for a separate study visa or permit.

3. Duration of Study Programs

Work permit holders can enrol in study programs of any duration, without any cap on the length of the course. This allows individuals to pursue both short-term certifications and long-term degree programs, depending on their career goals and aspirations.

4. Study Visa Requirement

Although the new policy eliminates the need for a study visa or permit, there are still limitations on the duration of studies. If a work permit holder wishes to continue their education beyond the time allowed by their work permit, they must apply for a study visa to ensure legal status in Canada.


How to Take Advantage of the New Policy

If you are a foreign worker in Canada and wish to take advantage of the new policy, here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Research Study Programs: Explore the various study programs available in Canada that align with your career goals and interests. Consider factors such as program duration, accreditation, and reputation of educational institutions.

  2. Confirm Work Permit Validity: Ensure that your work permit is valid and meets the eligibility criteria outlined by IRCC. This includes having an open work permit or an employer-specific work permit, as well as an ongoing work permit extension.

  3. Enroll in a Study Program: Once you have selected a study program, apply for admission to the educational institution of your choice. Provide the necessary documentation, including proof of your work permit and any other required documents.

  4. Obtain Study Visa if Required: If you plan to continue your education beyond the duration allowed by your work permit, apply for a study visa to maintain legal status in Canada. Consult with IRCC or a qualified immigration professional to understand the application process and requirements.

  5. Balance Work and Study: As a work permit holder, it is important to strike a balance between your work commitments and studies. Plan your schedule effectively to ensure you can meet the demands of both your job and your educational program.

Conclusion

The new IRCC policy allowing foreign workers to study in Canada without authorization is a significant milestone in facilitating the integration of work and education for temporary residents. This policy opens up new opportunities for foreign workers to enhance their skills, validate their international credentials, and increase their chances of settling in Canada permanently. By removing the requirement for a study visa or permit, the Canadian government is empowering foreign workers to broaden their horizons and achieve their career goals. If you are a foreign worker in Canada, make sure to explore the possibilities offered by this new policy and take advantage of the numerous benefits it provides.


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This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.

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