International Student Work Permit

Many international students choose to work while studying in Canada for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to gain valuable work experience, earn more income, and help cover their tuition costs. They may or may not need a work permit depending on their circumstances and eligibility in the following cases:

  1. On-campus work: A work permit is not required if the student is enrolled in a full-time post-secondary program which leads up to a post-graduate degree at a designated learning institution (a post-secondary school approved by a province or territory for international students). In this case, the student is allowed to:
    • Work at the school (such as with a faculty member)
      • If the student is working as a teaching or research assistant, they are permitted to work a separate institution that is associated with the school (such as a library, hospital, or research facility) even if it is not physically located on the campus
    • Work for a student organization
    • Work for a private contractor
    • Work for a business that provides on-campus services at the school
    • Be self-employed
  2. Off-campus work permit: Depending on your student visa, you may or may not need a permit to work off-campus
  3. Co-op or internship work permit: If your studies include a co-op or internship as part of the program, a valid work permit is required
  4. Post-graduation work permit. If you have completed a post-graduate program with a designated learning institution, you can apply for an open work permit for up to 3 years

Off-campus Work Permit requirements:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Are a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • Have started your educational program
  • Enrolled in a program that leads up to a degree, diploma or certificate and is at least six months long
  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

How many hours are international students allowed to work?

Should an international student qualify to work off-campus, they are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during regular school sessions, or full-time during scheduled breaks (such as spring or summer break). After the student has completed their program and has applied for any other work permit, he or she may work full-time until the permit is obtained.

Students cannot work in Canada without a valid work permit if they:

  • Study English or French as a second language
  • Take general interest courses not leading up to a degree
  • Are visiting, or are an exchange student who will not receive a degree from a Canadian post-secondary institution
If you are interested in getting a work permit as an international student, contact us at Green Light Canada for professional help!