Working While Studying in Canada – A Guide for International Students

Are you a student of a university in Canada who is looking for a way to gain experience and make a little money on the side?

Well, you clicked the right link!

You are of course aware that, as an international student in Canada, you can work for up to 20 hours a week. Working and studying at the same time is, after all, one of the many advantages of going to study abroad in Canada.

But it can only be possible if you meet the requirements that make you eligible to earn while studying. Once you pass these requirements, you can work on or off campus. If you wish, you can help your spouse to get a job while you study.


Working on Campus

Working while studying on campus means that if you meet the criteria, you are allowed to get a job in the buildings around the school campus. You are only allowed to work on the campus where you are studying if your school has more than one campuses.

However, there are exceptions on the basis of which you can work at both campuses: if you are working as a teaching assistant or if your work is related to a research grant, you can work as many hours as you want so long as you are eligible.

If you decide to work campus, your employers can fall under one of the following categories;

ALSO READ  Techniques for Setting Achievable Goals at Work and in Personal Life

·         The school

·         Yourself (if you run a business on campus)

·         A member of the faculty

·         A student organisation



You can work as an international student on campus without a work permit if;

1.       You have started your study program. You cannot start working if your study program has not commenced.

2.      You have a valid study permit

3.      Your study permit explicitly says that you are allowed to work on campus.

4.      You are a full-time public/private post-secondary school student.

5.      You have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

When are you no longer eligible?

You should know that you risk your student visa being taken away if you keep working when you are not eligible to. You should stop working when:

·         Your study permit expires.

·         You are no longer studying.

·         You are switching schools.


What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

It is a 9-digit number that is given by the Canadian government and enables you to work and receive government benefits. To be able to apply for this number to work on campus, your study permit must have this condition printed on it.

“This permit does not authorise the holder to engage in off campus employment in Canada. May accept employment only on campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f). must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.”


Working Off Campus

You can work off campus without a work permit. Just like working on campus, you must only start working after your study program has begun. You can only work for up to 20 hours a week if you are eligible and if you have your SIN.

ALSO READ  Exams to Consider for Studying Abroad
You can work off campus if:

1.       You are a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI).

2.      Your study program is at least six months long

3.      You are enrolled in a training program.

4.      Your study program leads to a degree, diploma or certificate.

5.      You have started studying.

6.      You have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).


When are you no longer eligible?

You must immediately stop working if:

·         Your study permit does not grant you access to work.

·         You no longer meet the requirements.

·         You are only taking general interest courses.


To get your SIN to work off campus, your study permit must have this condition printed on it:

“May work 20 hours per week off campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.”


Opeyemi Kareem

About Author