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Working in Canada

Being able to work while studying is one of the major advantages of studying in Canada. In order to work and study in Canada you must stick to the mandate of your study permit. International students are permitted to work jobs on campus with a valid study permit, but you must ensure that the company is legitimately university-affiliated. You can also opt for off-campus work for 20 hours per week maximum but this is possible only if you have a work/study permit which mentions your eligibility.

Working in Canada
Working in Canada

Working while studying in Canada

Foreign students in Canada who possess a study permit and are also enrolled in a full-time Designated Learning Institution (DLI), can work off campus without a work permit. This will allow you to work in any occupation for any employer anywhere in Canada. International students can also work on campus if they wish.

Working off-campus means working for any employer outside the university or college. Working on campus means to work for any employer on the university or college’s campus, such as working for the university or college itself, for a faculty member (as a research assistant, for example), for yourself (self-employed, working on campus), for a student organization, or for a private contractor providing services on campus, for example, a gym or restaurant.

Please note that even if you do plan to work while studying in Canada, you will still be expected to portray sufficient financial resources when you apply for a study permit. You will have to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your studies without working.

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The study permit will state whether you are permitted to work in Canada and the conditions of employment. This enables you to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada; obtaining a SIN is a key requirement before you can begin working. In case your study permit is missing the statement you need to apply for a SIN, you can get your study permit amended for free. This can also be done after your arrival but it is much easier to do this when you land and your study permit is first issued. When you arrive at Immigration, you can ask the officer about your permission to work if you are unsure about anything.

Please note that you CANNOT work in Canada unless otherwise authorized to do so. If your course duration is less than six months, or if you are pursuing an English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) program. Additionally, students who are visiting or are part of a student exchange program at a DLI are not permitted to work while studying in Canada. It’s important to remember that you cannot start working while studying in Canada until you start your study program.

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Co-op work permit

International students don’t generally require a separate work permit to work while studying but there is an important exception to this. Certain programs require the student to complete a Co-op or internship work placement to be able to graduate. If this is the case, the student will need to have a Co-op work permit along with their study permit.

To apply for a Co-op work permit, you will require a valid study permit and a letter from your university which confirms that all students in your program need to complete work placements to receive their degree. The Co-op work permit can be issued with your study permit.

If your acceptance letter states that a Co-op or internship placement is required as part of your study program, your work permit may be processed as part of your study permit application. You can also apply for a Co-op work permit after you receive your study permit through online or paper application. You will be provided assistance with this process by your university or college as the placement is a part of your program.

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Working in Canada after studies:

Post the completion of your program, you may be required to stop working in Canada immediately. However, there are several other ways for you to continue working under different conditions.

  • If you wish to stay and work in Canada, you have the option to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This allows you to work anywhere in Canada for up to three years after you graduate. If you’re eligible, you will need to apply within 180 days of receiving written confirmation that you have finished your program.
  • Let’s say, you don’t apply for the PGWP after your course and then decide that you want to come back to work temporarily, you may be eligible for one or more of the International Experience Canada (IEC) categories. This offers young people from various countries the opportunity to work in Canada for a year or two, depending on the category and country of citizenship.
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