Working in Canada with a Student Visa

Students can work while their program is still in progress and they have not graduated yet.

////Working with a Canada Student Visa
Working with a Canada Student Visa 2019-06-11T12:26:43+00:00

To be able to study in Canada, internationals must get a visa to study in Canada which comprises of a visitor visa and a study permit. They must also register in what are called Designated Learning Institutions (DLI). These are institutions which have been approved by the government to accept and enroll international students.

Either way, once you get the student visa and permit, you will be allowed to complete your degree and get a Canadian diploma. Sometimes though, students want to both study and work in Canada at the same time. The reasons for this could be many, starting from getting work experience in a Canadian workplace to just adding to their income with some extra work.

This article will go through the ways that students can go about working in Canada with a student visa.

Can I work with a Student Work Permit?

Yes, students can work in Canada while they have student permits. The working time is only allowed while the visa and permits are valid, and they must apply additionally for student work permits in some instances.

Students can work only while their program is still in progress and they have not graduated yet. Once the students graduate, if they want to work then the procedure is different.

What are the ways I can work with a Student Work Permit in Canada?

The Canadian Government was aware that students would want to work while they have a student permit and that is why they designed multiple programs and ways that this could be done. Depending on the situation then, each working program has different requirements that students must fulfill as well as application procedures.

There are three ways that students can work while they have a student permit:

  • Working on-campus in their universities.
  • Working off-campus in other companies or places of work.
  • Completing a co-op or internship which is required by their school.

We will go through each program and explain what it is as well as the requirements.

Working On-Campus with an International Student Work Permit

On-campus work means that you will be working in the place where you are studying. When you work on-campus, you do not necessarily need a student work permit and you may start working immediately if you fulfill the following requirements:

  • You are a full-time post-secondary student in one of these institutions:
    • A public college, university in any Canadian province or a professional vocational school (Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel or CEGEP) in Quebec;
    • A private college or university in Quebec which abides to the same rules as public schools and has at least 50% funding from government grands;
    • A private Canadian school which is legally allowed to award degrees based on provincial law;
  • You have a valid study permit and visa;
  • You have a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN);

You can only apply for a Social Insurance Number in Canada if your study permit states that it allows employment on-campus at the institution where you are completing your full-time studies in accordance with the regulation R186(f), (v) or (w). If your study permit does not have these conditions, then you can ask the university you are in and the government to add them so you can apply for the SIN. This procedure is completed without a fee, so you can do it anytime.

If you fulfill the requirements and you have a valid job offer from a place on-campus, then you may start immediately and only notify the Canadian Government that you are engaged in a work contract. You are only allowed to work 20 hours per week while you are attending classes on-campus.

When you work on-campus, you can work in any building that is designated as an on-campus place. If your school has multiple campuses, then you can work in any of them. Additionally, if the school has any buildings that are not on-campus such as a library, research facility, or hospital, then you can also work in those.

Your employer will officially be the school or university you are enrolled in, but you can work for anyone who is present on-campus such as:

  • A faculty member;
  • Any student organizations;
  • A private business operating on-campus;
  • A private contractor which provides services on-campus at the school;

Besides these entities, you can also choose to be self-employed at school, such as offer tutoring services or any other academically related services.

You are only allowed to work while you are studying full-time. Once you stop your studies or your study permit expires, then you must also stop working.

Completing a Co-Op or Internship

Another way that you can go about working while you are studying in Canada is completing a co-op or an internship. There are many programs that require co-ops or internships for you to get credits and get the degree.

In this case, the procedure to work is different from working on-campus. While you do not need an international student work permit to work on-campus, you need one to complete a co-op or internship. The reason for this is that often the co-op or internship is done outside of campus.

Besides the requirement to have a co-op work permit, you will also need to fulfill these criteria to be eligible for a co-op or internship:

  • The co-op or internship is required for you to complete your program;
  • The school you go to has written a letter that they have this requirement and you must complete it in order to graduate;
  • The co-op or internship required is 50% or less of the total time of your study program;

You are eligible to complete such a co-op or internship with any program, but you cannot do it if you are studying in these programs:

  • English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL);
  • General interest courses or preparatory courses before you begin another study program;

How to Apply for the Co-op work permit?

To apply for the co-op work permit, you can complete the application online on the Government of Canada website or you can submit your documents in person. The forms you must submit are as follows:

  • IMM 5710 – Application to Change Condition, Extend my Stay, or Remain in Canada as a Worker;
  • IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (if you have a common-law partner);
  • IMM 5476 – Use of Representative (if you are giving permission to someone to apply for you);
  • IMM 5475 – Authority to release personal information to a designated individual (if you are using a representative);

In addition to these forms you must also submit supporting documents such as:

  • Your valid study permit and visa;
  • The letter from your school that states that a co-op or internship is mandatory;
  • Proof that the co-op or internship is 50% or less of the total time of your program;
  • Other documents depending on what the Canadian Government requires;

After you submit the application, you must also pay the fee which is CAD$155. The Government of Canada will process your application and will notify you of their decision. If they approve your work permit, you may immediately start working to complete your co-op or internship.

Working Off-Campus

Besides working on-campus or completing a co-op or internship, you are also allowed to work off-campus if you fulfill the following requirements:

  • You have a valid student visa and permit;
  • You are a full-time student at your school or you are a part-time student in your last semester;
  • You are enrolled in a secondary level vocational training program in Quebec or in a post-secondary academic, professional, or vocational program in any province;
  • You have conditions on your study permit which allow you to work off campus;
  • You have a Social Insurance Number (SIN);

If you fulfill these requirements, then you may work off-campus and do not need a student work permit. However, you will need a student work permit if you meet these criteria:

  • Your study permit conditions state that you are not allowed to work on or off campus during your studies;
  • You are enrolled in a program like English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL);
  • You are taking general interest courses or pre-required courses before you go into a full-time program;

If you need a student work permit, then you may follow the instructions to get that permit which are the same as those to get a work permit for a co-op or internship.

You can work off-campus for only 20 hours per week during regular academic classes but you will be allowed to work full time during university holidays or breaks.

Can my spouse or common-law partner work while I am a student?

If your spouse or common-law partner is accompanying you in Canada while you complete your degree, they will be allowed to work if the following requirements are met:

  • You are a full-time post-secondary student in one of these institutions:
    • A public college, university in any Canadian province or a professional vocational school (Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel or CEGEP) in Quebec;
    • A private college or university in Quebec which abides to the same rules as public schools and has at least 50% funding from government grands;
    • A private Canadian school which is legally allowed to award degrees based on provincial law;
  • You have a valid study permit and visa;

Your spouse or common law partner can apply online or in person by submitting these forms and the proof that they meet the requirements above:

  • IMM 5710 – Application to Change Condition, Extend my Stay, or Remain in Canada as a Worker;
  • IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union
  • IMM 5476 – Use of Representative (if the spouse or common-law partner is giving permission to someone to apply for them);
  • IMM 5475 – Authority to release personal information to a designated individual (if they are using a representative);

The spouse or common law partner must submit the application and pay the fees. The fee for the work permit is CAD$155 for the application and an additional CAD$100 for the open work permit. If the government approves their work permit, then they may start working full time anywhere they have a job offer. They can only work while you maintain your status as a student.

Can I work after I complete my studies in Canada?

After you complete your studies in Canada, you may work off campus as part of the Post-Graduate Work Program (PGWP). To find out the requirements and application procedures, visit our article on getting the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).

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