• Calver & Associates

International Students Can Work More Than 20 Hours

Updated: May 25

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a temporary rule change aimed at helping health-care facilities and other workplaces under pressure during COVID-19.


To help battle the COVID-19 outbreak, the government 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.


The Federal Government recognizes that essential workers are under stress to meet the demands of their roles. As such, international students who are already present in Canada and who work in these essential roles are permitted to help meet the challenges of the pandemic.



Who is considered an essential worker?


Essential workers are considered critical to preserving life, health, and basic societal functioning. This includes first responders, health care workers, critical infrastructure workers, hydro and natural gas, and workers who are essential to supply society by critical goods such as food and medicines.


International students who are studying in health- and emergency service-related programs, including many who are nearly fully trained and ready to graduate are allowed to work additional hours.


Other essential positions international students may hold include (but are not limited to):

  • Pharmacy workers

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other outlets (such as convenience and pet food stores) that sells food and beverage products

  • Restaurant employees necessary to support take-out and food delivery operations

  • Customer service and support staff, including managed and professional services as well as remote providers of support to transitioning employees to set up and maintain home offices, who interface with customers to manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll, billing, fraud, and troubleshooting

  • Workers who are needed to support financial transactions, advice, and services (e.g., banknote processing, payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; benefit, compensation and pension services, wealth management; and capital markets activities)

  • Educators supporting public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing other essential functions, if operating under guidelines for social distancing

  • Child care services for essential workers, and home child care services of less than six children

  • Hotel Workers where hotels are used for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measure

Read the full list of Essential Workers.

How long can students exceed the 20-hour limit?


This temporary rule change will be in place until August 31st, 2020.



Other relevant blog posts:



Our Services


Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.


We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.



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Calver & Associates

PO Box 20001

Newcastle, ON

L1B 1L0

Direct Line: 289-677-0108

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Appointments available: Monday to Friday 10:00am - 6:00pm

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Durham Region