Government of Canada makes it easier for international students to apply to work off-campus

Ottawa, September 3, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced an on-line application system that will make it easier for foreign students to apply for off-campus work permits.

International students can now complete, sign, pay for and submit their application online, anywhere and anytime in Canada. The system will only accept completed applications, thereby minimizing approval delays that result when incomplete forms need to be returned.

“By making it easier for international students to work off campus, we are making Canada a more attractive destination for international students,” said Minister Finley. “We want foreign students to choose Canada. We want them to gain experience, and to contribute to our economy while they are here. Making our services easily accessible will help us do that.”

The online system was tested as a pilot project beginning in June 2008. Since that time, 424 international students have applied electronically. The pilot period allowed CIC to implement and test the systems before students returned to class in the fall.

CIC is committed to protecting the personal information of applicants. As such, appropriate safeguards have been put into place using the Government of Canada Secure Channel, which is an electronic channel that assures client security and privacy for all online interactions with the Government of Canada.

The announcement complements other recent changes to make it easier for foreign students to get work experience. Earlier this year, Minister Finley announced that work permits for students who graduate from eligible programs at certain institutions would be valid for three years. They had previously been for one or two years. Restrictions on the type of work these recent graduates can do were also removed. As well, CIC recently announced details of the proposed Canadian Experience Class. This new avenue for immigration will make it easier for certain foreign student graduates with Canadian work experience to apply for permanent resident status.

oreign students can apply on-line for an off-campus work permit by visiting our client services page at