Can I work while studying in Canada?

Can I work while studying in Canada?

If you are an international student who wants to work while studying in Canada, you MUST:

• have a valid study permit,
• be enrolled in a Canadian educational institution,
• have a SIN number.

If you checked all the checkboxes above, here are some of your options:

1. Work On-Campus
Full-time international post-secondary students seeking to work on campus do not require to have a work permit, but they must stop working on the day they are no longer studying full time or when their study permit expires.
The employers in this case are the school, a faculty member, a student organization, a private business or private contractor that provides on-campus services to the school, or you can also be self-employed on-campus.

2. Work Off-Campus
International students may be authorized to work off-campus if their school participates in an off-campus work permit program and usually, the study permit will indicate if you are able to work off campus.
If so, you are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during regular school sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.

3. Co-op Programs & Internship Work Permits 
Foreign students who are studying in a program must have the appropriate work permit in order to take part in a co-op or internship program.
You also have to prove that working is a key part of your study program in Canada, that you have a letter from your school that confirms all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree and your co-op or internship is 50 per cent or less of the total program of study.

Work Permits for the Spouse or Common-law Partner of a Foreign Student
A spouse accompanying a foreign full-time student enrolled in a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec, private college-level school in Quebec or Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree) AND on a valid Canada study permit, is also entitled to an open work permit, which does not require a job offer or LMIA.
The work permit for your spouse or common-law partner is valid for the same period of time as your study permit and he/she can work for any employer in Canada.

Work in Canada after completing your studies: Post-Graduate Work Permits
Foreign students who have graduated from an academic program in Canada which lasted a minimum of eight months, may qualify for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).
To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for a work permit. To get a post-graduation work permit, you must:

• be 18 or older when you apply,
• have continuously studied full-time in Canada in a study program at least eight months long,
• have a document from your school (transcript, official letter, certificate, etc.) that confirms you completed and passed all your program requirements,
• apply for a work permit within 90 days of when it was confirmed that you completed your program,
• have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit AND
• have graduated from a:

→ public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec or
→ private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (currently applies only to certain private post-secondary institutions in Quebec) or
→ private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) or
→ Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree) but only if you are enrolled in a study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province

Spouses or common-law partners of post-graduation work permit holders can only apply for a work permit if the principal applicant is employed in an occupation in skill level 0, A or B.

Have questions? Contact us at for more information and to discuss your situation.

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