International students in Canada who were previously not allowed to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit can still do so, while CERB extension is in place.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada has announced that the federal government is extending the CERB by two months to ensure that all Canadians and international students have the support they need as COVID-19 lockdowns are beginning to ease in the country.

Trudeau said, “The reality is that there are about three million people out of work who are currently looking for work, and even as our economy is reopening, there are millions of Canadians out of work, willing to work than there are jobs available.”

According to the statement, the extension will make the benefits available to eligible workers for up to a total of twenty-four (24) weeks.

“As we begin to reopen the economy and get people back on track, Canadians receiving the benefits should be actively seeking job opportunities or planning to return back to work, provided they’re able and it is reasonable to do so.”

Which International Students Are Eligible for the CERB Extension?

Not sure if you are qualified for the CERB? The benefits are available to those who:

  • live in Canada and are at least fifteen (15) years old
  • have stopped working because of reasons related to coronavirus, or are qualified for EI regular or sickness benefits, or have exhausted their EI regular or fishing benefit between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
  • had employment and/or self-employment income of a minimum of $5,000 in 2019, or in the twelve (12) months before the date of their application
  • have not earned more than CAD$1,000 in employment and/or self-employments income per benefit period while receiving the CERB
  • Those Canadians who lost their jobs are also eligible for CERB.

International students who meet the eligibility requirements should begin to receive their CERB payments by direct deposit within three (3) to five (5) days of applying and by mail within Ten (10) days of applying.

You must apply every four-week period to attest that you continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the CERB payments.

Also, take note that those who are enjoying the benefit cannot have earned more than CAD$1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for fourteen (14) consecutive days within the four-weeks benefit period of their claim.

Many foreign students have been stranded in Canada and lost their part-time jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are banking on the CERB to get them by as they do not meet the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

They also potentially lose out from summer job income this year, which foreign students depend on for supplemental income.

Some have also expressed disappointment that they don’t meet the eligibility criteria for the CERB extension package as they earned more than CAD$5,000 in the twelve (12) months prior to the application.

A petition by Migrant Students, a project of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, has called on the federal government for more assistance, stating that “we have lost income or jobs, we are struggling to pay bills and hike in tuition fees, we have limited access to health care services, we are concerned for our futures in Canada, and we have been separated from our families by border closures.”

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