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How to Work While Studying in Canada

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In Canada, foreign/international students whom are studying may also work on or off campus while doing so as long as they have a valid study permit.

In order for an international student to be qualified to work during their studies, they must:

  • Hold a valid Canadian study permit
  • Remain a satisfactory academic standing as determined by their institution
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.
  • Be studying at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level

Once the student does not meet the requirements in Canada, they must stop working on that day unless otherwise authorized to do so by applying for a Canada work permit.

 

Who is eligible to work off-campus?

You may work off-campus without a work permit if you:

  • have a valid Canada study permit
  • are a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • have started studying
  • are in a program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate and is at least six months long and
  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you are no longer a full-time student, you may still work off-campus if you:

  • have been a full-time student since you started your program in Canada and
  • are now studying part-time only because this is your last semester (and you don’t need a full course-load to complete your program).

You and your employer must make sure you are eligible to work off-campus without a work permit before you start working. If you start working off-campus but don’t meet the requirements, you may be asked to leave Canada.

 

Who is not eligible to work off-campus?

Even if you are a full-time student at a DLI, you may not be allowed to work off-campus without a work permit. This is the case if you are:

  • studying English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL)
  • taking general interest courses or courses to prepare for another study program or
  • a visiting or exchange student who won’t get a degree from your host school in Canada.

If one of these apply to you, you need to get a valid work permit to work in Canada.

 

How many hours are you allowed to work on a student visa?

If you qualify to work off-campus, you can work up to 20 hours per week:

  • during regular school sessions, or while you are studying if you are enrolled in an intensive program that doesn’t have scheduled breaks
  • if you are studying part-time because you are completing the last session of your program
  • if you are a graduate student who has completed the required courses for your degree

You can work full-time:

  • during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break, and
  • after you finish your studies if you have applied for any other work permit.
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