Working while Studying in Canada
Magdalena is an international student at Humber College in Toronto. She is a Finish citizen. Magdalena, whose friends call her Leena, is doing a two-year business program that will lead to a post-secondary diploma. She started her studies only a few weeks ago. Of course, like most other international students, Leena needs to work to cover part of her expenses. Despite some research, she is not quite sure if she can work off-campus. Leen also doesn’t know if she needs to apply for a work permit.
Canada is a huge magnet for international students. Relatively low tuition fees and living costs, the high quality of education, and the ability to work while you are studying are some enticing reasons to choose Canada for your studies. Of course, as an international student, you could eventually immigrate to Canada. Before you get too excited, make sure to read the rest of this article.
Which Students May Work in Canada?
As a rule of thumb, if you meet all the following requirements, you may work while studying in Canada.
- You are a full-time student;
- your study permit is valid;
- you are studying at a post-secondary level, and
- your school is a designated learning institution.
Also, if you have completed your studies, you may continue working in Canada; if you meet the following criteria,
- Your study permit is still valid; and
- You have applied for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP), but an officer has not rendered a decision on your PGWP application.
Which Students May Not Work in Canada?
Generally speaking, if you do not meet the requirements of the previous headline, you may not work in Canada, but to be more clear, you may not work if any of the following applies to you.
- You are a minor;
- you are studying at pre-school, primary school, or secondary school levels;
- your school is not a designated learning institution;
- you are not a full-time student;
- your study permit is not valid;
- you have completed your studies and have not applied for a PGWP; or
- your education does not require a study permit, and you have not asked for one.
Remember that even if a single one of the above applies to you, working in Canada is not an option.
What are the Conditions of Working as a Student?
You may work on-campus or off-campus. Also, you may work up to 20 hours per week during your studies and full time during regular school breaks (e.g. the winter break). You can usually work for any employer in your region. However, IRCC prohibits you from working for businesses that are mainly in the adult industry. Some examples include exotic dances, escort services, and erotic massages. You may not even work as an accountant or a marketing manager for those businesses.
When you receive your study permit, make sure to read all the conditions posted on it. Sometimes the limitations are more than what I described above.
What about Internship or Co-op Work?
Sometimes, you need to work for an employer as an intern or a co-op student as part of your study. Unfortunately, you need a work permit for those activities. Fortunately, you may apply from within Canada. You usually receive an open work permit for internship or co-op work.
What if My Circumstances Change?
Unwanted matters could happen in anybody’s life. Suppose you suddenly lose your financial support from your home country due to some difficult and unforeseen situation. For example, an internal war erupts in your home country, or your family goes bankrupt. In these circumstances, you may apply for a work permit as a destitute student. Such work permits are open. They help you overcome your financial problems and go back to your studies as soon as you can.
Working after finishing your studies
When you finish your studies, you must meet certain criteria to work. I have another article that explains this issue in detail.
Let us help!
If you intend to study in Canada, submit the following form. Alternatively, you may book an appointment with me or fill out our assessment form.
If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.
Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
Fill our Free Canada Immigration Assessment Form in your language!
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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