When students come to Canada to study, they are required to already have enough money to live on and pay for tuition for the duration of their stay. There is no official number, but $10,000 Cdn in addition to tuition for a full school year is a good starting point. This is because it is very difficult for international students to work in Canada. The following are the scenarios that could enable an international student to work in Canada while they study.
Working on campus
An international student who is going to school full-time can work up to 20 hours on campus. This means that if there is a job opening at the school's bookstore or in the cafeteria or somewhere on the school's property, you may apply for work for that job. There is a lot of competition for these kinds of jobs, so this is not something you should count on when you arrive in Canada to study. The Canadian government lists those schools where students can work as "a university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school or at a private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees." You must also have a valid Study Permit.
Working as part of a co-op program or work placement
If the program that you are admitted to has a work requirement or co-op program, meaning that you are required or have the option to work at a job related to your program as part of the curriculum, you may be allowed to do this. There are conditions to this; for example, the program must be certified or approved to allow students to work.
Working as part of graduate research
In some instances, work and education come together and become almost one and the same. If you are a graduate student working on academic research, you may be paid.
The province of Manitoba - An exception to the rule
As part of a pilot program launched by the government of Manitoba and the government of Canada in October 2003, international students will be able to work off-campus for up to 20 hours a week while they are full-time students.
Social Insurance cards and numbers - SIN
In order to be paid in Canada, you must have a Social Insurance Number or a SIN. You can apply for a SIN card through Human Resources Development Canada once you arrive in Canada. There may be some cases where you need to have already been offered a job before you can apply for a SIN card.
Working "under the table"
You may be tempted or even asked to work illegally, or "under the table" in Canada. There are many reasons why you should not do this, the most serious being that you may be asked to leave the country if you are caught. But there are other dangers as well, such as there being no way to take care of wage disputes (if your employer decides not to pay you or does not pay you the agreed upon amount) and no worker protection in case of accident or injury.
If you are the wife or husband of a full-time student studying in Canada at a university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school or at a private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees, you may be able to work in Canada. The student must hold a study permit. You should contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada for more details.
Working after you graduate
You may be able to work in Canada for up to a year following your graduation. In order to do this, you must have a valid Study Permit when you apply for a Work Permit, you must have studied full-time at a university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school or at a private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees. The job must relate to the studies you took and you must apply for a Work Permit within 90 days of graduation.
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