As an international student in Canada, you may be eligible to work for up to 20 hours per week on- or off-campus. In fact, a recent law allows international students who are already in Canada to work for more than 20 hours per week through the end of 2023 to address the country’s labor shortage.
Taking on a part-time job as a student can help you afford your living expenses and reduce the amount you have to borrow in student loans. Read on for a closer look at the eligibility requirements for working in Canada as an international student.
If you’re pursuing your degree in Canada, you may be able to work a part-time job at the same time. As long as you have a valid study permit, you won’t need a special work permit for an on-campus or off-campus job. However, you will need to meet the following requirements:
You must be enrolled in your program full-time to qualify to work in Canada. The only exception is if you’re in your last semester of your study program and don’t need a full-time course load to complete it. You also must have been studying full-time up until this final part-time semester.
You’ll need to be attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in order to work part-time in Canada. In fact, you’ll need to enroll in a DLI to get your study permit in the first place. You can find out if your school is on the list of DLIs on Canada’s official government website here.
You also must have already started studying in your post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program. Secondary-level vocational training programs count too, as long as they’re located in Quebec.
Your study program must be at least six months long and lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
You’ll also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada. You can apply for your SIN from Service Canada after receiving your study permit, which will state whether or not you’re permitted to work in Canada. If your study permit is missing this permission, you may be able to get it amended at no cost.
International students who meet the above requirements can work for up to 20 hours per week on- or off-campus. Part-time jobs might include working at your school library, in the gym, with a faculty member, or at a local restaurant.
During school breaks, such as summer and winter break, international students can work a full-time schedule. If you stay in Canada during the summer between semesters, for instance, you could work full-time and earn some extra income for school.
Students who are already in Canada may also be able to snag some extra work hours thanks to a recent temporary measure announced by Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. If you’re already studying in Canada and submitted your study permit application by Oct. 7, 2022, you may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week through December 2023.
This measure could allow more than half a million international students studying in Canada to work more hours. However, it’s not open to new arrivals who are starting their studies this year. If you’re starting school in 2023, you’ll still be subject to the usual 20 hour per week rule.
While you don’t need a special work permit for a part-time job in Canada, you may need to apply for a co-op permit if you want to work an internship or co-op placement as a student. To be eligible for this permit, you’ll need to:
Note that this co-op permit requirement has been temporarily waived for students who already applied for their study permit prior to Oct. 7, 2022. If that’s you — and your co-op placement will end by Dec. 31, 2023 — you won’t need to worry about obtaining your co-op work permit.
If you want to keep working in Canada after you graduate, you may be able to with the post-graduation work permit (PGWP). The length of your PGWP will vary depending on the length of your study program.
If your program was between eight months and two years long, for instance, the length of your PGWP will match the length of your program. If your program exceeded two years, you might qualify for a three-year work permit.
Students who attended a program that was less than eight months aren’t eligible for a PGWP. This permit can take anywhere from 80 to 180 days to process, but you can keep working in Canada while you wait, as long as you applied for your job before your student permit expired.
This Post Graduation Work Program can provide a path for international students to gain permanent residence in Canada. If you’ve been living and working in Canada after you graduated with your degree, you may be eligible to apply for permanent resident status through Canada’s Express Entry immigration system.
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