Visa Crunch

The new policy allows international students to begin co-op work early.

As per a new regulation announced earlier this week by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), overseas students on a co-op work term do not have to wait for their approval to start their job placements (IRCC).

Students can continue working as their requests are being reviewed for their co-op work permit. This is a special permit that enables all job components related to their academic degree to be done by overseas students, including co-op terms, internships and practice. In addition to their research permit, it is a specific permit that students have to apply for, with which students can complete non-academic field tasks.

Amy Braye, director of the Mount Saint Vincent University International Education Centre, stated “students are now permitted to use their co-op experience from their research permit’s standard work hours allowance while waiting for the special work permit’s acceptance.

“Basically, there’s always been separate regular work and co-op work. And the government said, listen, we’re going to enable students to use their standard allotment of work for their co-op experience, if they want to, and if they can,” said Braye. 

The new policy refers to students who are still studying in their native country remotely.

“If a student didn’t have their co-op work permit in the past, and they said, “I’m living in China, so Nova Scotia Power wants to hire me, they’re OK if I telecommute. Is that appropriate?’ No, it’s not acceptable, we would have recommended,” Braye said. With the new strategy, however, the conclusion is yes, she added.

However, it needs permission from both the organization and the employer, according to the IRCC website.

Associate director at Dalhousie University Janet Bryson said, “Consequently, both the employer and the co-op policy should accept that the unique opportunity is acceptable for working remotely outside from Canada and also that the employer can better assist the student in their learning appropriately.”

A regular research permit only provides 20 hours of off-campus work experience to students each week. When on an academic break, students can work full-time off-campus.

“It’s still beneficial for students. It implies that they can work right towards their co-op, whereas before, they were just prevented from working in their co-op,” Braye said. “It doesn’t address all of the problems, because they’ll have to meet the co-op requirements that they need.”

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