Temporary Residence > Students


Most foreign nationals need an open or employer-specific Work Permit to work in Canada. To work means to enter a Canadian labor market, not simply conducting international business activities for the remuneration paid from a source outside Canada. In general terms, Canadian economic and social development policy prescribes that a foreign national can be authorized to work in Canada only if the Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada are not qualified to perform the job offered.

Working while studying

How to study and work in Canada is a question that every student asks before or during the learning process. The man thing that you should know is that you need the o work legally or get services and benefits from administration programs. You can apply for it with Service Canada, but your permit must have these conditions printed on it:

  • May work on the university or college grounds of the institution at which he or she studies full-time.
  • May work on or off university or college grounds if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must stop working if no longer meet these criteria.

If your study permit doesn’t have these conditions, but you meet the criteria, you can request to add them. And the great thing is that there is no fee for that.

Another popular question is where I can work? There are a few work and study types in Canada for international students that you can try. Those include on-campus, off-campus and internship.

On-campus work

“On-campus” means that work is anywhere in the buildings on your school campus. If your educational institution has a few campuses, usually you may only work where you are studying.

But there is an exception if you work as a research or teaching assistant. In this case, you can work at a hospital, library, or study facility associated with your school, even if they are outside the campus.

Your “on-campus” employer can be a faculty memberthe schoola private business, a student organizationa private service provider, yourself (on-campus freelance).

Off-campus work

On June 1, 2014, the Off-Campus Work Permit Program finished as an element of regulatory changes to the International Student Program. If you have one, you can still keep studying and working in Canada under your current work permit.

You may work off-campus without a permit if you: have a legitimate study permit, have a SIN, are a full-time student at a DLI, have started studying and are in a program that leads to a degree, certificate or diploma and is at least six months long.

If you no longer study full-time, you can still work off-campus if you: have been studying full-time since enrolment in Canada and are now are studying part-time just as this is your last semester.

If your study circumstances change and you no longer meet all the requirements, you are obliged to stop working off-campus. Otherwise, authorities may ask you to leave the country.

Even if you are studying full-time at a DLI, there is no guarantee to work off-campus without a work permit. This happens when you are studying French or English as a second language, taking courses to prepare for another study program or general interest courses, or you are an exchange student who won’t get a degree from your host school. If that is your situation, you need to get a valid work permit to work and study in Canada.

If you are eligible to work off-campus, you can work up to 20 hours per week during school sessions, and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the summer or winter holidays.


Some Canadian work and study programs include work practice as part of their plan. So you can apply for them easily if you are qualified. Your acceptance letter must verify that an internship or co-op post is part of your curriculum. Besides, you can apply online.

Working after graduation

If you want to work after study in Canada, you have to apply for an individual work permit. This is called the post-graduation work permit or PGWP. But you should know that not all programs of designated learning institutions are suitable for that. If you want to get more details about credentials of the DLI’s grant, you need to contact the Ministry of Education of your territory or province. If you are a graduate of DLI and would like to work and stay in Canada for the short term, you may be eligible to apply for a PGWP. This work experience can help you meet the criteria for permanent residence in Canada in the future.

Getting precious work experience after graduation can help you to immigrate here permanently. The next programs can help make this process easier for qualified candidates:

Post-grad work permit

The PGWPP gives students who have graduated from a higher educational institution an opportunity to gain important work experience in Canada. Then it helps them to qualify for permanent residence with the help of Express Entry.

Express Entry

This is the first step for the majority of people who desire to immigrate to Canada permanently as an experienced worker. Only the top candidates have a chance to apply for permanent residence.

Also, if you are an international student who just graduated in Canada, you may have a good chance to apply for permanent residence if you can contribute to the Canadian economy, are familiar with society, have suitable work experience and have knowledge of English or French. You may be suitable to stay and work in the country permanently under one of the immigration programs powered by the government.

Provincial Nominee Program

Almost all provinces and territories in Canada can propose people to immigrate to Canada. These people have the education, skills and work experience they need to be the part of the economic system of the land.

So, to get a post-grad work permit, you must:

  • be 18 or older when you submit an application
  • have graduated from a DLI higher education institution
  • have a certificate or diploma that confirms you completed all your program requirements
  • always studied full-time in Canada in an educational program that is at least eight months long
  • apply for a work permit within 90 days

Also, you are eligible to submit if you took part in one of the Programs listed below:

  • Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC
  • Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
  • Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile

Furthermore, you can submit your application if you completed your distance learning educational program regardless from whether it’s within Canada or from abroad. You can also apply if you already had a post-grad work permit following any other course of study.

Before submitting your application, make sure that you meet all criteria and have all documents you need! And if you are thinking about studying in Canada, don’t waste your time and start your research now. Be the young specialist that can contribute to the country’s development and benefit from valuable Canadian work experience. Besides, you have a great chance to work and stay in the country after graduation.

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April 2019