April 25, 2020 | COVID-19

International Students: Your right to work and COVID-19

Pursuant to article 186 (v) (i)(ii)(iii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, a foreign national (a person who is not a naturalized citizen of the country in which they are living) may work in Canada without a work permit if:

1)      You have a study permit; and

2)      You are a full-time student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI):

a.      enrolled in a post-secondary program; or

b.      enrolled in a vocational or professional training program; or

c.       you are in a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec; and

3)      You are allowed to work off-campus;

If you are an International Student enrolled in a full-time program, you are permitted to work 20 hours a week during the program and are allowed to work full-time during all school breaks.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are not “in class”, and despite the fact that some institutions resumed their activities with online classes, most school programs are still suspended. This suspension, caused by the current global crisis, should not be interpreted as a regular scheduled break between sessions, which means if you are an International Student you are not allowed to work full-time and must respect the 20-hour per week maximum.

It is important to note that one of the requirements to come to Quebec as an International Student is to demonstrate proof of financial capacity, which means that you must demonstrate that you have sufficient financial resources to cover tuition fees, transportation expenses, settling-in expenses for the first year in Canada and living expenses for the entire duration of your stay.

However, if you are an International Student working off-campus and providing an essential service, exceptionally until August 2020, you are allowed to work more than 20 hours per week. For the list of essential services in Quebec, please visit https://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/definitions/essential-services/?refrq=online-services

As an International Student you are also not eligible to apply to the Federal Government’s newly announced student benefit (CESB). However, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available to anyone, including International Students, who made at least $5,000 last year and lost their income due to COVID-19.

Finally, it is important to highlight that if you are an International Student approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, you are exempt from the travel restrictions and may come to Canada.  However, you must self-quarantine for 14 days upon your arrival to Canada even if you do not present symptoms.