Operational Bulletins 035 – July 23, 2007

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Expansion of the Off-Campus Work Permit Program to include private institutions as a pilot project

Background

International students contribute to Canada’s intellectual and academic environment, and make our educational institutions centres of rich and diverse cultural exchange.

After a series of successful provincial pilot projects at public institutions, the Off-Campus Work Permit Program was launched nationally on April 27, 2006. To help even more international students obtain Canadian work experience, the Off-Campus Work Permit Program is now expanded to include certain private educational institutions, on a trial basis. The program, which allows international students at post-secondary institutions to work off-campus, has to date been available only to students at publicly funded institutions. As a result of the program expansion, students attending approximately 75 additional institutions could be eligible to apply for off-campus work permits.

General policy

To ensure appropriate controls, the pilot project will apply only to programs and institutions authorized by the provinces and territories to confer degrees. Provinces and territories interested in participating in the pilot project will need to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the private schools in their jurisdiction and monitor the implementation of the program. Participating provinces and territories will conduct evaluations in 2008 and 2011 in accordance with standards jointly developed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the respective provinces/territories.

Amended definitions

  • Eligible institution
    An eligible institution will now also include any Canadian privately funded post-secondary institution that is located in a province or territory that has signed an MOU with CIC and that has been given full or limited authority to grant specific degrees by a public or private act of the provincial/territorial legislature or through a government-mandated quality-assurance mechanism. A list of eligible institutions will follow once provinces/territories begin to sign on to the pilot project.
  • Qualifying program
    A qualifying program will now include any educational program that is offered by an eligible institution and that leads to a specific degree, by virtue of a public or private act of the provincial/territorial legislature or through a government-mandated quality-assurance mechanism. A list of qualifying programs will follow once provinces/territories begin to sign on to the pilot project.
  • Publicly funded post-secondary institution
    Publicly funded post-secondary educational institutions are public post-secondary institutions or private post-secondary institutions that operate under the same rules and regulations as public institutions and receive at least 50 percent of their financing for their overall operations from government grants.
  • Privately funded post-secondary institution
    Privately funded post-secondary educational institutions are post-secondary institutions that receive more than 50 percent of their financing from private sources. They are located in a province or territory that has signed an MOU with CIC, and they have been given full or limited authority to grant university degrees by a public or private act of the provincial/territorial legislature or through a government-mandated quality assurance mechanism.
  • Academic program and level
    In the case of publicly funded post-secondary educational institutions, students must be enrolled in post-secondary programs that provide a degree, diploma or recognized certificate upon completion. In the case of post-secondary educational institutions that receive most of their financing from private sources, students must be enrolled in post-secondary programs that provide a degree, diploma or recognized certificate upon completion, in accordance with a public or private act of the provincial/territorial legislature and a government-mandated quality assurance mechanism.

    Note: International students who are enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program or in general interest courses or who are visiting or are exchange students, are not eligible to apply for a work permit under this program.
  • Participating institution
    Any eligible institution that is located in a province (or territory) that has signed the MOU on the Off-Campus Work Permit Program for international students or has signed the MOU with respect to the expansion of the Off-Campus Work Permit Program pilot project is a participating institution.

Procedures

The general eligibility criteria, conditions of the work permit and processing procedures outlined in the Foreign Worker Manual (FW 1) section 5.37 E continue to apply.

Questions

Questions about this operational bulletin should be sent to OMC-Immigration@cic.gc.ca

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