Can international students work in Canada? Yes, you may be eligible to work in Canada while studying if your study permit includes a condition that says you can work on or off-campus.
You must also meet all the other requirements. You can only start working in Canada when you start your study program. You can’t work before your studies begin.
Can international students work in Canada?
Who can work on-campus
You can only start working in Canada when you start your study program. You can’t work before your studies begin.
You can work as an international student in Canada if your study permit lists a condition that says you’re allowed to work on- or off-campus.
You can work on your school campus, without a work permit, if you:
are a full-time post-secondary student at a:
- public post-secondary schools, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec
- private college-level school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools and is at least 50% funded by government grants, or
- Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law
- have a valid study permit, and
- have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Who can’t work on campus
You must stop working on-campus:
- on the day you stop studying full-time
- when your study permit expires
- if you’re on authorized leave from your studies
- if you’re switching schools and aren’t currently studying
- You can return to work only once you’re back to studying and you meet all the requirements to work on-campus.
Where you can work
“On-campus” means you can work at all the buildings on your school campus. If your school has more than one campus, you may only work at the campus where you’re studying in most cases.
You can work at other locations if
- you’re working as a teaching or research assistant and
- your work is strictly related to a research grant
In this case, you may work at a library, hospital or research facility associated with your school, even if they’re outside the campus.
Who you can work for
An “on-campus” employer can be:
- the school
- a faculty member
- a student organization
- you run a business that is physically located on-campus (for example, you own a coffee shop that is located on campus)
- a private business
- a private contractor that provides on-campus services to the school
Get a Social Insurance Number to work in Canada.
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that the Government of Canada gives you. With this number, you can work in Canada and get government benefits and services.
To apply for a SIN to work on campus, you must have 1 of these conditions printed on your study permit:
- May accept employment on or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
- This permit does not authorize the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada. May accept employment only on campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
If you’re eligible to work on campus, but we didn’t include either of these conditions on your study permit, you can ask to have them added. There’s no fee to add these conditions to your permit.
Who can work off-campus
You and your employer must make sure you can work off-campus without a work permit before you start working. If you start working off-campus but don’t meet the requirements, you may have to leave Canada.
You can only start working in Canada when your study program has started. You can’t work before you start your studies.
If you’re able to work during your studies, it’ll say so in the conditions on your study permit.
You can work off-campus without a work permit if you meet all of these requirements:
- you’re a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- you’re enrolled in
- a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program or
- a secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only)
- your study program
- is at least 6 months long and
- leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
- you’ve started studying
- you have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
If you’re a part-time student
- You can work off-campus only if:
- you meet all of the requirements above and
- you’re only studying part-time, instead of full-time, because:
- you’re in the last semester of your study program, and you don’t need a full course load to complete your program and
- you were a full-time student in your program in Canada up until your last semester
If you’re on an authorized leave
If you’re on authorized leave from your studies, or you’re switching schools, and you’re not studying, you can’t work off-campus. You can only return to work once you’re back to studying.
Get a Social Insurance Number to work in Canada.
A SIN is a 9 digit number that the Government of Canada gives you. You need one to work in Canada. To apply for a SIN to work off-campus, you must have 1 of these conditions printed on your study permit:
- May work 20 hours per week off-campus or full time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
- May accept employment on or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria, per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w) and must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
If your study permit doesn’t have work conditions on it
You can ask to have these conditions added if you’re eligible to work off-campus. There’s no fee to add these conditions to your permit.
You’ll need to request an amendment to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN from Service Canada.
How many hours can you work off-campus?
During regular school terms/semesters, You can work up to 20 hours per week.
During scheduled breaks in the school year
- You can work full-time if you’re on a scheduled break, such as winter and summer holidays, or a fall or spring reading week. You’re free to work overtime or work 2 part-time jobs that add up to a higher than a usual number of hours.
- You must be a full-time student both before and after the break to work full-time.
- You can’t work during a break that comes before you start your very first school semester.
How many hours count as full-time work?
No set number of hours per week counts as ‘full-time’ work. However, your employer(s) must follow all provincial laws on overtime pay and time between shifts.
If your program doesn’t have scheduled breaks, You can work up to 20 hours per week.
Working more than 20 hours per week is a violation of your study permit conditions. You can lose your student status for doing this and may not be approved for a study or work permit in the future. You may also have to leave the country.
Who can’t work off-campus
- You can’t work off-campus without a work permit if any of these situations apply to you:
- your study permit says you aren’t authorized to work off-campus while you study
- you’re only enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program
- you’re only taking general interest courses
- you’re only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program
- your situation changes, and you no longer meet all of the requirements to work off-campus