Working as an International Student in Canada

By Western University Modified on February 21, 2022
Tags : Careers | Money

Tips and advice for working here in Canada, on- or off-campus.

Working as an International Student in Canada

Want to earn some extra money while you study in Canada? Interested in gaining work experience before you graduate? Working in Canada as an international student can seem confusing. Don't worry, here's what you need to know!

Your study permit has rules about working

As an international student, you need a study permit to study in Canada. And your permit includes employment conditions. Here are some common rules:

  • You need to be a full-time student in an eligible post-secondary school
  • You can only start working once your studies begin, not before. And you need to stop working once your full-time studies stop, unless you are finishing up your final academic session with a part-time course load. To continue working in Canada after your studies finish, you will need to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
  • Your study permit needs to have conditions listed on it that say you're allowed to work on- or off-campus. If your study permit is missing this authorization, don't panic — you can request an amendment at no extra cost.
  • You need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Once you have a valid study permit with working conditions authorization, you can apply online for a SIN through the Canadian government's web portal.

There are different rules for working on-campus and off-campus

Got it? Great! Now, what are the some of the differences between working on-campus and off-campus?

Working on-campus

  • You can only work at the buildings on your school campus and any other campuses that belong to your school. If you're working as a teaching or research assistant or doing work related to a research grant, you may work at other locations associated with your school (e.g., libraries, research areas, hospitals, etc).
  • You can work as many hours as you want, in addition to working off campus. Keep in mind though that your academic studies should be your priority!

Working off-campus

  • You must be enrolled in an academic, vocational or professional training program that is at least 6 months long and leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate. English as a Second Language (ESL) and French as a Second Language (FSL) programs don't count.
  • You can work up to 20 hours per week during regular school terms.
  • If you're on a scheduled break such as summer or winter holidays, you can work full-time or even overtime. You are also able to work two jobs at a time.

Help is always here

❗ It's important to review all of the government regulations for working on-campus and off-campus. You should also check on any government updates to these policies, especially in the face of COVID-19. If you violate the conditions of your study permit, it could affect your student status, your chances of being approved for a study or work permit in the future and/or you may be asked to leave the country. Luckily, your school will be there to help you with any study permit or immigration-related issue.

Make sure you take advantage of all your resources. You're not in this alone! Most universities will have a dedicated service such as Western University's Career Education Centre to help students search for jobs, prepare their rsumés and practice for their interviews.

Happy job hunting!

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