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Work Permits for Students

It is possible to work in Canada while you are here as a student, and there are opportunities for jobs on and off campus. You will need to apply. 

1. Working on campus post-graduation-work-permit-for-international-students-in-canada

You may work on campus at the institution where you study without      a work permit if:

  • you are a full-time student at:
    • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees and
  • you have a valid study permit.

2. Working off campus

The Off-Campus Work Permit Program allows certain foreign students to work off campus while completing their studies. To qualify, you must be a full-time student enrolled at a participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institution or in an approved program at an eligible privately funded institution.

Participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institutions:

  • are public post-secondary institutions, such as a college or university, or
  • are private post-secondary institutions that operate under the same rules and regulations as public institutions, and receive at least 50 percent of their financing for their overall operations from government grants and
  • have signed an off-campus work agreement with their provincial or territorial government.

Eligible privately funded post-secondary institutions:

  • are located in a province or territory that has signed a memorandum of understanding with CIC
  • have signed an off-campus work agreement with their provincial or territorial government and
  • have approval from their provincial or territorial government to grant specific degrees.

Please note that not all programs offered by private post-secondary educational institutions qualify. For more information on qualifying programs, contact the eligible institution directly.

See Off campus work permits for a list of participating institutions in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.

To work off campus, you must apply for a work permit. Do not begin to work off campus until you have received your work permit. The work permit authorizes you to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks (for example, winter and summer holidays, and spring break).

A work permit does not guarantee that you will find a job. It is your responsibility to look for work. Even if you work off campus, your studies must be the main reason you are in Canada.

If you are no longer a full-time student or do not maintain satisfactory academic results, you must return your work permit to a local Citizenship and Immigration Canada office.

3. Co-op and internship programs

For some academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.

4. Working after graduation

If you want to work in Canada after you graduate from your studies, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A Post-Graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.

5. Work available to your spouse or common-law partner

Eligibility

Your spouse or common-law partner may apply for a work permit if:

  • you are a full-time student at:
    • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec
    • a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently, only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) or
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees
  • you have a valid study permit

Validity

Work permits for your spouse or common-law partner are valid for the same period of time as your study permit.

Note: Accompanying spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are eligible for an open work permit, which means they do not need a job offer or a labour market opinion from Service Canada.


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Qualifications Valued Around the World

Canada’s high academic standards and rigorous quality controls mean that you’ll be earning a high-quality education that will open doors for your future and benefit your career over the long term. A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is globally recognized as being equivalent to those obtained from the United States or Commonwealth countries.

Affordable Education

The quality of education and living standards in Canada are amongst the highest in the world, but the cost of living and tuition fees for international students are generally lower than in other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. As such, Canada is often the preferred choice for students attending college or university.

Multicultural Society

With almost all of the world’s ethnic groups represented in Canada, it’s hard not to find ethnic foods and recreation activities associated with specific cultures. In fact, your international student advisor can help you get in touch with any number of ethnic clubs and associations for you to join while you’re here.

Healthy and Safe Communities

While you may have heard of or experienced Canadians’ friendly and open nature, you may not have known that the United Nations consistently ranks Canada as one of the best places in the world to live. As an international student in Canada, you’ll enjoy all of the same freedoms which protect Canadians – respect for human rights, equality, and a stable and peaceful society.

World-Class Language Education

Did you know that Canada is a bilingual country and is considered a world leader in language training? Since teaching French and English as a first and second language is an integral part of a Canadian education, you will be able to improve your fluency and capacity for either language as you further your studies.

Exciting Campus Lifestyle

Canada’s post-secondary campuses aren’t only wired with the latest in sophisticated technology, but countless other modern amenities as well. From Olympic-quality sports facilities to public concert halls and art galleries, Canada’s post-secondary campuses offer you enormous possibilities for learning and leisure. Plus, you’ll have incredible opportunities to meet like-minded individuals and gain valuable experience through student-run governments, radio, newspapers and businesses.

Innovative and Abundant Research Opportunities

Since research is one of the key components of a Canadian post-secondary education, you’ll have ample opportunity to become a part of this vibrant aspect of education. In Canada, government and industry together support research including: telecommunications, medicine, agriculture, computer technology, and environmental science.

Land of Possibilities

Under Canada’s highly dynamic and hands-on academic environment, you will not only acquire knowledge and skills in analysis and communication, but you will also learn how to express yourself, demonstrate your creativity, and develop your self-confidence! Teachers and professors are always available and eager to help with lessons, and studies fuse academic excellence with interaction and collaboration in the classroom.

Possibility of Immigration

Did you know that some international students with Canadian credentials and Canadian work experience may apply for permanent residency without having to leave Canada? For more information about the possibility of immigration to Canada once your schooling is complete, please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.