Choosing Canada as your study destination offers a significant advantage – the opportunity to work while studying. However, there are essential details you should be aware of before embarking on your journey to earn a living in Canada.
For most international students in Canada, the maximum allowable work hours are 20 per week. During scheduled breaks, you can work full-time without needing a work permit. This arrangement not only enables you to financially support yourself but also provides a chance to broaden your social network. Simultaneously, you’ll be cultivating valuable connections and acquiring experience that could set you apart in your future job search.
Working while studying in Canada: Eligibility
International students in Canada, holding a valid study permit and enrolled full-time at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Have the privilege of working off campus without the need for an additional work permit.
This essentially means they can seek employment with any employer, in any occupation, anywhere in Canada. Additionally, international students also have the option to work on campus if they choose to do so.
When we refer to working “off campus,” we mean being employed by an entity outside of the university or college. In contrast, working “on campus” pertains to employment within the university or college campus itself. This on-campus employment may encompass roles with the institution, faculty members (like research assistant positions), self-employment on campus, positions within student organizations, or even work for private contractors providing services on campus, such as in gyms or restaurants.
It’s crucial to note that, even if you intend to work while studying in Canada. You must still demonstrate sufficient financial resources when applying for your study permit. This means showing that you have ample financial means to support yourself throughout your studies without relying on employment.
Anticipated future earnings won’t suffice as proof of financial capacity. So, your intention to work while studying in Canada cannot serve as a substitute for demonstrating financial preparedness prior to your arrival.
Learn more about Canadian study permits
Your study permit is a crucial document for international students in Canada.
It not only authorizes your stay but also specifies whether you are permitted to work in Canada and the conditions of employment.
This statement on your study permit is essential for applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada. A key requirement before you can start working while studying in Canada.
If your study permit lacks the necessary statement to apply for a SIN, don’t worry. You can have your study permit amended for free. It’s more convenient to do this when you first receive your study permit or upon arrival in Canada. When you arrive at the immigration checkpoint. You can inquire with the officer about your work permissions if you have any uncertainties about your study permit.
However, it’s important to note that there are certain restrictions on working in Canada as an international student. You are generally not allowed to work if your study program is less than six months in duration. Or if you are enrolled in an English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) program.
Additionally, visiting or exchange students at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) are typically not permitted to work while studying in Canada.
Keep in mind that you cannot begin working while studying in Canada until your actual study program commences. This ensures that you comply with the regulations and make the most of your educational experience in Canada.
Working while studying in Canada: Finding a job
Securing the eligibility to work in Canada is just the initial step; the real challenge lies in finding suitable job opportunities. Fortunately, the Canadian job market often welcomes students seeking part-time positions, offering a diverse array of employment options.
Before embarking on your job hunt, it’s essential to prepare a well-crafted resume (CV) and cover letter. These documents are your primary tools for capturing the attention of potential employers and distinguishing yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.
Ensure your resume is current and aligned with the expectations of Canadian employers. Your cover letter provides a platform to showcase your personality and accomplishments. Craft tailored cover letters for each position, emphasizing how you meet the specific criteria they seek. When applying online, the cover letter can serve as your introductory email, with your resume attached as a PDF.
Another approach is to walk around your neighborhood and look for shops or restaurants advertising job openings in their windows. If you opt for this method, bring printed copies of your resume and dress professionally, aligning with the business’s dress code (e.g., a collared shirt; avoid blue jeans). Be aware of your availability, and if you find a promising opportunity, don’t hesitate to inquire about the position. This is an excellent chance to make a positive face-to-face impression and might even lead to an impromptu job interview. Networking through this method has a proven track record, and there are comprehensive guides available on networking techniques to assist you in your journey.
In Canada, there is a strong tradition of students working while pursuing their studies, and you should not conceal your student status. Always remember that your education remains a top priority, and don’t hesitate to request time off when needed, especially during exam periods or when facing significant deadlines. As a student working in Canada, you enjoy the same labor rights as any other worker, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with your labor rights and the minimum wage in your province. Ensure that you receive proper documentation, such as payslips and records of employment, as these are necessary for filing your tax return.
Counting the cash
In Canada, a lot of companies pay their workers directly into your bank account through direct debit. As a result, in order for your company to pay you, it is crucial that you have a bank account established and that you keep track of your account information. Our guide to Canadian banking has further information about your possibilities.
Co-op work permit
There is a significant exception to the usual rule that foreign students studying in Canada do not require a separate work visa in order to work. To graduate from some academic prprograms students must do a Co-op or internship work experience. In this case, in addition to their study permission, overseas students also need a Co-op work permit.
A statement from your institution or university stating all students in your program must complete work placements in order to receive their degree is required in order to obtain a Co-op work visa.
Your study permission may be issued along with the Co-op work permit. In the event that your admission letter specifies that your academic program requires a Co-op or internship experience.
Once you receive your study permission, you may apply online or on paper for a Co-op work permit. Since the placement is a requirement of your study program and they most likely assist a large number of foreign students in obtaining this permission each year, your institution or college ought to be able to assist you with this.
After completing your studies in Canada, there are various options available to continue working under different conditions. These options can be highly beneficial, not only in terms of earning a wage but also in enhancing your overall career prospects. Here’s a more polished version of the information you provided:
Post-Study Work Opportunities in Canada
Upon the completion of your studies in Canada, you have the opportunity to extend your stay and work in the country under various conditions. The key options include:
Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP):
If you intend to stay and work in Canada after your studies, you can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This permit allows you to work anywhere in Canada for any employer for up to three years after you graduate. To be eligible for a PGWP, you must apply within 180 days of receiving written confirmation that you’ve successfully completed your study program.
If you plan to pursue further studies in Canada (e.g., transitioning from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s degree), you can work between study programs if you meet specific criteria. To do so, you must:
- Have been eligible to work off-campus during your previous study program.
- Still possess a valid study permit or have applied for an extension before your permit expired.
- Have received written confirmation of program completion.
- Hold a letter of acceptance for a new full-time study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
- Plan to commence your new study program within 150 days of confirming the completion of your previous program.
International Experience Canada (IEC):
If you didn’t apply for a PGWP and later decide to return to work in Canada temporarily, you may be eligible for one or more of the International Experience Canada (IEC) categories. These categories provide young individuals the opportunity to work in Canada for one or two years. Depending on the specific category and their country of citizenship.
Working while studying in Canada offers more than just financial benefits. Graduating from a Canadian university or college with work experience can significantly distinguish you in the job market. Whether you plan to continue working in Canada or seek employment elsewhere. Canadian work experience is a valuable asset that can greatly enhance your future career prospects.
In summary, Canada provides several avenues for international students to extend their stay and gain valuable work experience, which can be a stepping stone to a successful and fulfilling career.