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.