The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, made an important announcement on June 27th, 2023. This announcement introduced a new temporary measure aimed at removing the restriction on the length of study programs that temporary foreign workers can undertake without a study permit.

The decision by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to implement this measure is based on the recognition that foreign workers often encounter obstacles when it comes to pursuing certain study programs that could provide them with additional training and education to advance their careers.

Previously, foreign workers were allowed to study while working, but there was a limit of 6 months on the duration of the program. If they wished to enroll in a longer program, they were required to apply for a separate study permit. This posed a significant challenge for foreign workers who sought to enhance their education and gain further training, particularly for those needing to validate their foreign credentials through specific programs.

Under the new temporary measure, there will be no restrictions on the length of study programs for foreign workers holding a valid work permit. This means that they will have the opportunity to study full or part-time while continuing to work in Canada.

The temporary measure will be in effect for a period of three years.

This measure is expected to have several positive outcomes for foreign workers. Firstly, it will broaden their future job prospects, as they will be able to acquire additional qualifications and skills through extended study programs. Additionally, it will enhance their chances of transitioning to permanent residence status by increasing their Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) through higher levels of education or gaining qualifying work experience.

Minister Sean Fraser emphasized the significance of this policy change, stating, “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.” He further explained that the removal of barriers to skills development opens the door for more foreign-trained doctors and nurses to contribute to the healthcare system, allows construction laborers to become tradespersons, and helps address critical labor shortages while benefiting employers, workers, and the economy as a whole.

By implementing this temporary measure, the Canadian government aims to foster the growth and development of foreign workers, enabling them to overcome barriers and pursue their career aspirations. It also recognizes the valuable contributions that these individuals can make to the labor market and the broader Canadian society.