Working while Studying in Canada

Work While Studying in CanadaMagdalena 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.

Also, if you have completed your studies, you may continue working in Canada; if you meet the following criteria,

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.

    How old is the student (required)

    Has the student taken an English or French test?

    How knowledgeable the student is in English or French languages (one language is enough)

    Has the student evaluated their educational credentials in Canada?

    How much money the student has to support their living expenses and tuition in Canada for the first year of studies in Canada?

    At which level do you wish to study?

    Does the student have accompanying family members?

    Do you have a letter of acceptance from a Canadian educational institute?

    Additional information (optional but helpful)

    Please share more information to help us better assess you:

    Are you currently inside Canada?

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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.

    The characters and places in the articles:
    All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, 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. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, 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.