In 2014, the government of Canada introduced changes to the terms of Canadian study permits. Under these changes, the majority of study permits automatically grant international students the authorization to work while studying in Canada. Most Canadian study permits allow a full-time international student to work up to 20 hours per week during regular school sessions and undertake full-time employment during scheduled breaks. As of November 15, 2022, a temporary measure was passed to allow students to work over 20 hours a week, valid until December 2023.
In certain cases, a study permit may not authorize an international student to work while studying in Canada:
An international student may be authorized to continue working 20-hours per week even if they are not enrolled in full-time classes:
Please note that if a study permit becomes invalid, the foreign national immediately loses authorization to work in Canada. If a foreign national works or studies in Canada without legal authorization, they will jeopardize any future applications for Canadian immigration.
Anyone working in Canada must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). This means that any international student wishing to work in Canada must first apply for a SIN. Applications for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) can be submitted in-person or by mail to Service Canada. However, in order to apply for a SIN, there must be certain information listed on the study permit of an international student. The study permit must state one, or both, of the conditions listed below. If those conditions are not included on a study permit, the student simply has to request that they be added. Study permit conditions required to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN):
The IRCC announced that from November 15, 2022, until December 31, 2023, international students in Canada who have off-campus work authorization on their study permit will be allowed to work over 20 hours a week during school sessions. Foreign nationals who have already submitted a study permit application will also be able to benefit from this temporary change, provided their application is approved.
Prior to changes made in 2014, student work permits were divided into two categories:
Following the new regulations, the vast majority of study permits authorize international students to work both on- and off-campus. While it is uncommon, it is possible that an international student may face restrictions regarding working on- or off- campus. The study permit will indicate the student’s employment authorization, specifying where the student can and/or cannot accept employment. If an international student believes that they should have the authorization to work during their study program, but this authorization is not explicitly listed on their study permit, then they should submit a request to have the permit updated before undertaking any employment.
A post-graduation work permit allows an international student who has graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) to remain in Canada for a while after their period of study. It is an open work permit, which authorizes them to work for any employer in Canada. Canadian work experience can help a person to qualify for Canadian permanent residence as well, usually through the Canadian Experience Class or an employer-driven Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Please note that not all programs offered at DLIs are eligible for a post-graduation work permit. Be sure to verify PGWP eligibility before selecting a program.
Some educational programs in Canada require students to complete a paid or unpaid co-op or internship work placement in order to complete their program of study. International students enrolled in these programs may apply for a co-op or intern work permit, provided that they meet the following requirements:
If the student meets the above criteria, they can apply for a co-op or intern work permit either online or via a paper-based application. Note: If the school indicates the co-op or internship requirement in the initial letter of acceptance and this is included in the foreign national’s original application for a Canadian study permit, then the work permit will be processed at the same time as the study permit.
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