Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: February 19, 2024

Work after studies in Canada for international students

Tens of thousands of international students choose Canada every year. Of course, the high quality of education is one of their main reasons. However, becoming a Canadian and immigrating to Canada is probably in the minds of many of them. Living in Canada is expensive. Most international students cover part of their expenses by working while studying. Luckily IRCC authorizes the majority of international students to work. However, can they also work after finishing their studies? This article covers work after studies in Canada.

Work while studying in Canada.

Before discussing work after studies in Canada, let’s see if you can work while studying in Canada. According to section 186 of the Immigration Regulations. You may work up to 20 hours per week if you meet all the following requirements. Luckily, you may even work full-time during regular school breaks.

  • You are a full-time student enrolled at a Designated Learning Institution.
  • Your program is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec, in each case, of a duration of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate (R186).

Sometimes you hold a valid study permit for a college or university, but you are studying English or French as a Second Language. Consequently, you may work on the campus of the school only.

Also, keep in mind, you could work in Canada if you separately apply for a work permit. Some examples include applying for a work permit as a destitute student or applying for a regular work permit.

Work after studies in Canada with the help of a PGWP

You could apply for a postgraduate work permit (PGWP) upon finishing your studies. Of course, not every school or program meets the PGWP requirements. Therefore, check out my article on this subject. Remember that PGWP is an open work permit that could enable you to immigrate under the Canadian Experience Class or other Federal or Provincial options.

Can I work if I have finished my studies but have not received my PGWP?

You may work after finishing your studies only if you meet both of the following criteria:

  • You could work off-campus under the authority of section 186 while studying in Canada. Please read the first section of this article for more information.
  • You have already applied for PGWP or another type of work before the expiry of your study permit. However, IRCC has not decided on your application. In other words, you have implied status because of the work permit application.

Work after studies in Canada when the study permit is still valid

If you have finished your studies, your study permit remains valid for up to 90 days or when it reaches its expiry date. Of course, if one of these happens, your study permit is not valid anymore. Assuming your study permit is still valid, can you work in Canada? The simple answer is no. Unfortunately, the validity of your study permit after your studies only allows you to remain in Canada as a visitor. Nonetheless, it has some benefits:

As you can see, none of these mean you can work in Canada. Nevertheless, as I mentioned in the previous section, you may work full-time without a work permit as soon as you apply for PGWP or another type of work permit. You need to submit your application before the expiry of your study permit. Otherwise, you lose your status, and you need to apply for the restoration of status. Unfortunately, a restoration application does not qualify you to work in Canada.

NOTE: You may only apply for another study permit or work permit if you meet the requirements.


To wrap up the work after the studies question, let’s recap the topics briefly:

  • Most international college and university students may also work in Canada. However, they must follow all the conditions.
  • After finishing your studies, you may work under the following two conditions:
  • Of course, if you become a permanent resident of Canada, you have the right to work in Canada.

If you do not meet these requirements, you may not work after finishing your studies in Canada.

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If you intend to work in Canada after finishing your studies, fill out the following form. Of course, you may alternatively book an appointment with me or fill out our assessment form.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

    Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.