Study and Work in Canada

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Can international students work in Canada?

As a study permit holder in Canada, you may be able to work up to 20 hours per week off campus. But you need to get a work permit after arriving in Canada. Countries such as Australia and New Zealand better support student employment.

  • Generally, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required from a potential employer before applying for a work permit.
  • A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job and there is no Canadian worker available.
  • There is a $150 processing fee for work permit applications.
  • You can work full time during scheduled breaks (for example, winter and summer holidays, and spring break).

Working on campus

If you are enrolled full-time in a degree-granting course of study, you are entitled to work on the campus of your university or college.

  • The employer could be your educational institution itself or a private business located on campus.
  • If you are eligible for on-campus employment, an officer at the port of entry to Canada should write on your study permit: “May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which the holder is registered in full-time studies.”
  • International students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.

Can students live and work in Canada after graduating?

Supervisor and graduate worker.International students graduating in Canada can become permanent residents by gaining work experience under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. To qualify, you must have graduated from a public or private institution that grants degrees. These institutions may include a university or a general and vocational college.

  • Work permits allow you to work in any occupation and change employers any time you wish.
  • They are valid for the length of your study program, up to a maximum of 3 years. For example, if you graduate from a 4-year degree program, you could be eligible for a 3-year work permit. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for an 8-month work permit.

After gaining at least a year of job experience, graduates can apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class. You need at least a year of work experience in Canada in a managerial, professional, technical or trade occupation.

Other options for gaining permanent residence include (i) the Federal Skilled Worker Program and (ii) an immigration nomination from a Canadian province or territory based on in-demand skills and experience.