Work While Studying
An international student holding a valid Canadian Study Permit can enter the labor market without having to apply for a Canadian work permit. Moreover, an international student’s spouse or common-law partner can secure employment in Canada while their partner pursues their studies.
If you are a spouse of an international student, you’ll need to submit your application for an OWP (Open Work Permit) permitting them to work for any Canadian employer without restrictions.
A full-time international student at a Canadian Academic Institution can work at the institution’s campus without a work permit. If the institution has several campuses in the same municipality, an international student can work at any of their campuses.
Any academic program qualifies a full-time student for on-campus work. Institutions that the government has allowed to offer such work to international students are:
- Community colleges
- Publicly funded trade (or technical) learning institutions
- Private learning institutions with authority to confer degrees.
It is important to remember that on-campus work is only available for international students on full-time courses and with valid study permits.
Some international students may work off-campus without a work permit. Off-campus working allows students to work not more than 20 hours per week during their regular academic sessions. However, the person can work full-time during regular breaks—when school is in recess during spring, winter, and summer breaks.
Eligibility to work off-campus
An international student can only qualify to work off-campus if:
- they have a work permit
- they are on a post-secondary academic program, and they take their studies as a DLI (Designated Learning Institution). If in the province of Quebec, the person must be at least undertaking a secondary level vocational program.
- maintain good academic standing as per their institutions’ requirements
- are pursuing an academic, professional, or vocational training program leading to the conferment of a certificate, diploma, or degree that lasts for not less than 180 days in duration
Ineligibility to work off-campus
- A foreign student doesn’t qualify to work off-campus if they are:
- enrolled in French or English programs as a second language
- pursuing a general interest academic program
- are in the country as an exchange or visiting students at a DLI
- NB. If you’re a foreign national working in Canada as a teaching, graduate, or research assistant, you’re still eligible for off-campus work as long as you work in a location related to your research grand. However, the location must be an affiliation of a formal association with your learning institution. Such institutions may include research institutes, clinics, and hospitals.
Co-op Work permits
Besides a valid study permit, an international student studying at a DLI in Canada and pursuing a study course with a compulsory internship or work placement must also submit an application for a co-op work permit.
Postgraduate work permits
A post-graduation work permit allows a student who has graduated from a Canadian learning institution to apply for an Open Work Permit (OWP). A positive Labor Market Impact Assessment and a job confirmation are not part of the requirement of applying for a postgraduate Open Work Permit. The qualifications for applying for the permit include:
- You must have completed your academic program. To show that you have completed your studies, you can use your institution’s official confirmation letter or academic transcripts as proof.
- You must apply for the permit within three months of completing your academic program.
- You should have fulfilled all the requirements for the conferment of a certificate, diploma, or degree, and your institution has notified you that your academic papers are ready for picking.
- Your study permit has not expired.