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  • Writer's pictureHossein Alavi, RCIC

International Students: Working in Canada - Eligibility and Requirements

Updated: Apr 10

Can International Students Work Before Their Study Program Starts in Canada?

Working in Canada as an International Student: What You Need to Know

As an international student in Canada, it's important to understand the rules and regulations around working while you study. In general, if you're eligible to work on or off campus while studying, you can only start working once your study program starts. Let's dive deeper into the specifics.

A Guide to Traveling Outside Canada as an International Student

Working as an International Student in Canada: When Can You Start?

International students who wish to work in Canada must be aware that they are only allowed to work once their study program has started. It is important to ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria for working on or off campus before starting any employment. If you are looking to work before your study program begins, you must apply for a work permit. Keep in mind that working without proper authorization can lead to serious consequences, such as being removed from Canada, so it is important to follow the rules and regulations set by the Canadian government.

Working On or Off Campus

As a study permit holder, you may be able to work on-campus or off-campus without getting a separate work permit. To work on-campus, you must be a full-time student at a recognized institution, and your study permit must authorize you to work on campus. If you meet these requirements, you may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as winter and summer holidays.

To work off-campus, you must have a valid study permit that authorizes you to work off-campus, and you must be enrolled full-time at a designated learning institution. You may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks. Keep in mind that you can't work off-campus if you're taking an English or French as a second language course, or participating in a general interest or preparatory course.

Co-op Work Permit

If your study program includes a required co-op or internship placement, you will need to get a co-op work permit. To be eligible for a co-op work permit, you must have a valid study permit and your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study. You must also have a letter from your school that confirms all the details of your work placement.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

After completing your studies, you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) to continue working in Canada. The length of the work permit depends on the length of your study program, up to a maximum of three years. To be eligible, you must have completed a full-time program at a designated learning institution, and your program must have been at least eight months long. You must apply for the PGWP within 180 days of completing your program.

In summary, if you're an international student in Canada and want to work, make sure to check if you're eligible to work on or off campus, or if you need a co-op work permit or a post-graduation work permit. It's important to follow the regulations and requirements set by the Canadian government to avoid any issues with your study permit or future immigration applications.

At Immigrative, we understand that navigating the Canadian immigration system can be overwhelming, especially for international students. That's why we offer support and guidance to help you understand the rules and regulations around working while you study. We can provide you with information on the eligibility criteria for working on or off campus, getting a co-op work permit, and applying for a post-graduation work permit. We can also assist you in preparing your application materials and ensuring that you meet all the requirements to maximize your chances of success. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your goals as an international student in Canada.


This blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For personalized advice regarding your specific immigration situation, it is recommended to consult with an authorized immigration professional.

About the Author:

This blog post is authored by Hossein Alavi, RCIC, a seasoned Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and the founder and CEO of Immigrative Visa Services Inc. and EduPal Canada. With over ten years of experience in the education and immigration sectors, he is dedicated to assisting individuals and companies with their Canadian immigration needs. Contact Immigrative Visa Services Inc. today to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward realizing your Canadian dream.


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