Working while studying in Canada is one of the major advantages of choosing Canada as your study destination, but there are a few things you should know before you can begin earning.
Most international students in Canada can work for up to 20 hours per week, and full-time during scheduled breaks, without a work permit. Working while studying can help you support yourself and meet new people, all while building the connections and experience that could make you stand out in your job hunt later on.
Before you start looking for your dream student job, read on to find out more about working in Canada as an international student.
Working while studying in Canada: Eligibility
International students in Canada with a study permit who are enrolled full-time in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), can work off campus without a work permit. This means you can work for any employer in any occupation anywhere in Canada. International students can also work on campus if they wish.
Working off campus means working for any employer outside of the university or college. Working on campus means working for any employer on the university or college’s campus, such as working for the university or college itself, for a faculty member (as a research assistant, for example), for yourself (self-employed, working on campus), for a student organization, or for a private contractor providing services on campus, for example a gym or restaurant.
It is important to note that even if you plan to work while studying in Canada, you will still need to demonstrate sufficient financial resources when you apply for a study permit. This means you have to show you have enough money to support yourself during your studies without working. Anticipated future earnings will not suffice when demonstrating sufficient financial resources, so the fact that you may plan to be working while studying in Canada will not satisfy the condition to prove financial capacity before arrival.
Your study permit will state whether you are permitted to work in Canada, and the conditions of employment. This statement enables you to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada; obtaining a SIN is a key requirement before you can begin working while studying in Canada.
If your study permit is missing the statement you need in order to apply for a SIN, you can get your study permit amended for free. While this can be done after you arrive, it’s much easier to do this when you land and your study permit is first issued. When you arrive at Immigration, you can ask the officer about your permission to work if you are unsure about anything on your study permit.
You cannot work in Canada unless otherwise authorized to do so 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 DLI are not permitted to work while studying in Canada.
It’s important to remember that you cannot start working while studying in Canada until you start your study program.