Working in Canada for international students

There are opportunities for employment on and/or off campus for those who are currently studying in Canada. These include:

  • On campus without a work permit
  • Off campus without a work permit
  • Co-op and internship programs with a work permit
  • Working after graduation with a work permit

On campus without a work permit

Students may have the opportunity to work on campus within the institution they are currently enrolled in without a permit on the condition that the student is studying full-time at a public post-secondary institution, a qualified private post-secondary institution, or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees. However, it is required that students have a valid study permit in order to work on campus.

Off campus with a work permit

New rules that take effect on June 1, 2014, make it easier for study permit holders to work off campus. Full-time students pursuing an academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution (DLI) will be:

  • eligible to work off campus without a work permit;
  • allowed to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week during a regular academic session and full time during regularly scheduled breaks; and
  • able to work off campus immediately rather than waiting six months.

To be able to work in Canada, however, you must be registered and enrolled at your designated learning institution, and you must get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada.

Co-op and internship programs with a work permit

In some cases, work is a compulsory addition to the academic program or curriculum. International students who intend to take part in a co-op or internship program are obligated to apply for both a work and study permit.

The following criteria must be met before work permit is issued:

  • Applicant must possess a valid study permit;
  • Employment must be a required aspect of the applicant’s program of study in Canada;
  • Employment must be part of an academic program in which the applicant is enrolled in and must be authorized by a letter from an eligible academic official of the institution.

Working after graduation with a work permit


  • To allow you to gain valuable Canadian work experience after graduation from a Canadian post-secondary institution
  • Transition to Canadian Permanent Residency

Internationals who have recently graduated from their education program are encouraged to gain work experience in Canada through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. A work permit can only be granted for the duration of time in which the applicant’s study program took place. For instance, if a student completes a 4 year degree program, he or she will only be eligible for a 3 year work permit.

In order to be eligible for a work permit upon graduation, students must:

  • Have attended school full-time, although the last semester may be part-time, in Canada and must have been enrolled in a program that took place for longer than 8 months;
  • Graduate from a public post-secondary institution, a qualified private post-secondary institution or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute;
  • Must apply for a work permit 90 days upon completion of the education program;
  • Must possess a valid study permit prior to applying for a work permit

Spouse Work Permit

Spouse work permit is a work permit for accompanying spouse or common-law partner of an international student. This is an open work permit without a job offer needed, can work anywhere in Canada.

To find out about your eligibility, please contact one of our immigration specialists.

  • Phone: +1 (604) 636 – 4618
  • Email:
  • or  take a Free Online Assessment through our website, we will contact you within 24 hours upon your request!
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