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How to Work While Studying in Canada

Generally, the Canadian study permit only allows the achievement of academic purposes. However, foreign students can carry out work activities, under clearly stipulated conditions, as long as they obtain a work permit. Therefore, working and studying in Canada is possible.

Work on the university campus

Foreign students who have a study permit can perform part-time work within the university campus where they are studying. The interested party will only be required to study full-time at a university.

Work outside the university or university college

Foreigners who have a study permit and wish to work outside the university must apply for a work permit once they are in Canadian territory.

It is illegal to start working outside the university without having obtained due authorization.

The work permit allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during ordinary periods of academic sessions and full time during vacations (such as winter, summer, and spring vacations). However, having a work permit is not a guarantee that the student will have a job.

On the other hand, the Canadian authorities constantly emphasize the fact that, even if a foreign student is allowed to work, the completion of studies must remain the main reason for the stay in Canada for a foreign student.

Obtaining a work permit for a student in Canada

To obtain a work permit, the international student must be enrolled full-time at a Canadian state-funded higher education institution or an eligible private educational institution.

Eligible private institutions are those institutions that have signed agreements with the provincial or territorial governments or with the Ministry of Immigration and Citizenship to authorize their students to work off-campus.

Also, those that are governed by the same rules and regulations as public institutions or those whose activities are financed at least 50% by government subsidies (currently, only private university institutions in Quebec qualify in this definition).

When a student stops studying full time or when he loses a satisfactory academic position (low academic performance), he runs the risk of having his work permit withdrawn.

Student counsellors from universities or colleges can assist foreign students in the process of obtaining a work permit.

To obtain this work permit, you can visit the official website directly:

Work as an intern

For certain academic programs, work experience is a vital aspect of the curriculum. Foreign students who have a study permit can do paid work internships, for which they must apply for a work permit.

To obtain work authorization, the student must demonstrate that the internship is an essential part of the curriculum and does not constitute more than 50% of the total academic program.

In addition, the employer must be certified by the educational institution to participate in the curriculum. A letter issued by the academic tutor is sufficient to authorize the employer to receive the international student as an intern.

Working in Canada after graduation

International students who hold a study permit can work in Canada after having obtained a post-secondary studies diploma.

To do this, they must apply for a work permit within the framework of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). This authorization allows the recent graduate student to gain work experience in Canada in their area of study.

This type of work permit is issued for a duration equivalent to the study program carried out, up to a maximum of three years.

For example, if the interested party graduated from a four-year study program, he may be eligible to obtain a work permit for three years.

The minimum time of studies required is 8 months, in which case the work permit will be extended for a maximum of 8 months.

Starting in January 2021, students who have an expired or are about to expire PGWP will be able to apply for a new open work permit, which allows them to look for work with the employer of their choice and continue their career in Canada.

For details of this extension of the program, you can consult this official link (

This type of work permit is a safe way for the student to apply for a permanent residence visa through the Canadian Experience Program.

Work permit for the spouse

Spouses or de facto partners of foreign students enrolled in full-time programs and who have a study permit can work in Canada temporarily.

It is necessary for the interested party to obtain the respective work permit, which will be granted for a duration equivalent to the spouse’s curriculum.

Looking for a job as a student

Having a work permit is not a guarantee for landing a job as a student. You as a student are solely responsible for the search for a job. The opportunities that would open to you are solely dependent on your ability and perseverance.

To get an idea of the jobs available, you can visit the employment pages on the Internet and the main newspapers of the cities where your Canadian university is located.

It is also worth checking out our Jobs in Canada article. A guide specifically crafted for newcomers to help them better understand the Canadian job market and how to navigate it.

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