Since the 1960s, Canada has actively recruited foreign workers to contribute to its workforce. In recent years, thousands of temporary foreign workers have been welcomed to the country annually, bringing with them valuable skills, their passion and a desire to build a new life for themselves and their families. Their contributions fill critical gaps in our labor market, drive economic growth, and enrich our vibrant multicultural community.
However, if they wished to broaden their career prospects or validate their foreign credentials through education while working in Canada, there were restrictive policies in place. Until now.
On June 27, 2023, the federal government announced some exciting changes to one of their policies: Temporary foreign workers in Canada no longer need study permits if they want to study for periods longer than six months!
This significant development allows individuals with work permits to pursue college while continuing to work their current jobs. They can now access quality education in their chosen fields without compromising their earnings, all while boosting their immigration scores.
Read on to find out who is eligible to take advantage of this, what benefits it brings to individuals applying to colleges, and how to enroll in Sundance College programs if you’re a temporary foreign worker.
Can a Temporary Foreign Worker Study in Canada?
Yes, temporary foreign workers can study in Canada! Before June 27, foreign nationals were able to simultaneously work and study in Canada but only if they took short-term courses of less than six months in length. This limited them to taking short courses focused on personal enrichment or interest but not programs that prepared them for a new professional career in Canada or back in their home countries.
If they wanted to take a career-focused diploma that would prepare them for a new career, they had to apply for a separate study permit. Now, with this restriction lifted, they can enroll in diploma-granting programs that allow them to move in a new career direction.
Althea recently came to Canada under the temporary foreign workers' program, as an employee of a quick-service restaurant. Restaurants and other food services, hotels, and farms are the top employers of temporary foreign workers. While she enjoyed interacting with and helping customers, she had always had an interest in helping others and wanted to work in a doctor’s office or hospital. When she looked into taking a medical office assistant college program to pursue her passion, she found out that as a temporary foreign worker, she could only take a short-term course, such as transcription, not the full, comprehensive Medical Office Assistant diploma program that would prepare her for a new career. In order to do that, she would need to apply for a study permit which would take months to process. In addition, she learned that about 30 percent of permit applications are denied.
Now, with the recent changes, Althea doesn’t need to wait months for approval which may never come. She can enroll in an online Medical Office Assistant diploma program and start her new career in about a year.
The new changes help people like Althea continue working full-time under their work permits and enroll in diploma programs at the same time, without a break in income.
Eligibility Criteria: Who Can Take Advantage of This Policy?
To ensure work and study options for foreign workers benefit the right individuals, specific eligibility criteria have been put in place. Let's take a closer look at who can take advantage of this policy change and whether you fit these criteria.
To be eligible, you need to be a temporary foreign worker who holds a valid work permit. If you currently possess a work permit or have applied for the work permit extension on or before June 27, 2023, you can benefit from this policy.
Exclusions: Individuals who applied for a work permit after June 7, 2023, will not be eligible for the benefits provided by this new policy. Additionally, this policy may not apply to individuals with different immigration statuses or categories, such as those under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program.
5 Key Benefits of the Temporary Foreign Worker Policy
By expanding educational opportunities for work permit holders, Canada aims to provide a supportive environment for foreign nationals to enhance their skills, broaden their knowledge, and ultimately contribute to the country's diverse workforce.
Let’s explore in detail the five core benefits this new policy brings to those who aspire to pursue higher education in Canada in 2023 and beyond.
1. Uninterrupted Studies without Compromising Income
The change to the study permit policy allows work permit holders to continue working full-time while pursuing comprehensive diploma programs.
Now, Althea can continue working at the quick-service restaurant to maintain a steady income and use online learning advantages to study the MOA program and prepare for her new career and life.
2. Expanded Program Choices
One of the key benefits of the new policy is the expanded range of program choices available to prospective college students. Previously, limitations on program durations meant that temporary foreign workers could only take short-term courses rather than a comprehensive career program that set them up for a new career.
With this policy change, foreign workers can now enroll in longer programs, such as career college diploma programs, and delve deeper into their chosen professions acquiring in-depth knowledge and skills.
3. Enhanced Career Prospects
By providing more flexibility in study programs, Canada creates a positive ripple effect for temporary foreign workers. By participating in longer training and education programs, they can acquire advanced skills and qualifications that align with the demands of the Canadian labor market.
This translates into improved career advancement opportunities, as graduates are better equipped to meet industry requirements and secure rewarding and in-demand jobs.
4. Additional Support for Immigration Goals
With new education and training opportunities in Canada, temporary foreign workers may now be able to increase their chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence (PR) through programs like Express Entry.
By achieving a higher level of education, improving their English or French proficiency, and gaining qualifying work experience after college graduation, candidates may be able to boost their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores and enhance their eligibility for PR.
5. Cultural Enrichment Opportunities
The ability for Althea to study in Canada’s colleges brings more than just academic and career growth; it provides a unique opportunity for cultural enrichment, networking opportunities, and increased satisfaction with their immigration to Canada in general.
By interacting with fellow students from various backgrounds, foreign workers can:
- gain invaluable cross-cultural communication skills
- get a deeper appreciation for diversity
- feel valued and heard
- build new relationships
- ease their infusion into the unfamiliar environment, and more
“With this policy in place, we hope to empower foreign nationals to improve their skills in order to meet their career goals and achieve their dreams, while providing a future potential source of talent for our labour market,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
Fraser also added that the government hopes that by removing barriers to skill development, Canada could fill its hiring needs in the healthcare and other sectors to address critical labour shortages.
Time-Limited Opportunity: Seize the Moment to Pursue Your Studies and New Career!
The Canadian government lifted the restrictions on study permits for temporary foreign workers but it is important to know that this policy change will only be in effect for three years. This means that if you want to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to act now. Don't miss out on this time-limited window to pursue your studies and get a new career and life in Canada.
Here’s How to Apply to Sundance College with a Valid Work Visa
Fortunately, the application process to Sundance College for temporary foreign workers is essentially the same as for domestic students. There are a few additional requirements, such as a valid work Visa and an English assessment.
Our professional advisors can walk you through the process and requirements and get you started as quickly as possible so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.
If you’re ready to take advantage of Canada's new educational policy for temporary foreign workers and unlock new career prospects with Sundance College - just fill in our Request Info form!