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Feds remove barriers for international students working in essential services to fight COVID-19

Thursday, April 23, 2020 @ 12:48 PM | By John Chunn


To help battle the COVID-19 outbreak, starting immediately, the federal government announced on April 22 that it 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.

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

The release said 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. This temporary rule change provides health-care facilities with access to additional well-trained workers at a time when they are badly needed.

“Immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students are making important contributions as front-line 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.