Work programs for international students at University in Canada

One of the most attractive options for students who are considering studying overseas are the work opportunities for international students enrolled at universities in Canada.

Since 2005 the Government of Canada, in cooperation with Provincial governments across Canada, has been making work opportunities more accessible to international students.  It is important to note that while there are many opportunities for students to work both on and off university campuses across the country students cannot rely on possible future income as part of their admissions application.  You must still show that you and your family have the resources to support your study and living costs for the duration of your studies in Canada.

What are the programs that international students are eligible for in Canada?

1. On-campus work opportunities

If you are a registered full-time student in an academic program at a university in Canada you are eligible to work on-campus upon your arrival in Canada.  You do not need a work permit to engage in work while on campus.  The maximum number of hours you are allowed to work while enroled in full time study is 20 hours per week.

There are many kinds of on-campus work opportunities for students. Royal Roads University, for example, offers jobs in food and event catering, assisting groundskeepers and assisting administrative and academic officials in their work. 

2. Off-campus work opportunities

If you are a registered full-time student in an academic program at a university in Canada you are eligible to work off-campus six months after your arrival in Canada.  You do not need a work permit to work off-campus as long as you retain your full-time registration status.  The maximum number of hours you are allowed to work while enroled in full time study is 20 hours per week.

In Canada it is common for university students to take many different kinds of jobs while they study and it is considered important to build a personal job resume for future professional employment.  Jobs that are commonly done by students include waiting tables in a restaurant, tending bar, working in fast-food outlets and assisting in professional offices among many options.

Provincial governments set minimum wage standards so, for example, in the province of British Columbia students can expect to receive $10 minimum wage per hour for any job they are doing.

It’s important to remember that students are expected to keep up their grades while they work in part-time jobs and universities will not accept work related excuses for low marks.

On-line there are many sources of information on these programs but for the most accurate information and up to date information we recommend you go to Canada Immigrations sites below:

Working Off-Campus (including eligibility requirements)

Frequently Asked Questions

3. Post-graduation Work Permit Program

In addition to providing opportunities for international students to work during their studies the Government of Canada has also made it easier for students to remain in Canada after their studies are completed.  The Post-graduation Work Permit Program has been extended to graduating university students across the country and has become a very popular incentive for students to come to Canada.

While the program is not automatic and students must apply the chances of receiving a permit are quite good.  Graduated students are not required to have a job offer prior to applying and are not required to take a job in their specific field of study.  Students who have graduated with a 4-year bachelor degree completed in Canada may stay in Canada an additional 3 years and those who complete a master’s program that is at least 18 months in length may get a permit for 2 years. 

For those students who may be interested in receiving permanent residence in Canada it is possible for them to apply for the Permanent Residence (PR) visa during the work period.  PR may be granted 2-3 years after the application has been filed although there are no guarantees of success.

For the most accurate information on the program please refer to Canadian Immigrations website.

Finally, remember that while work and study at the same time can be rewarding it is important to balance the two.  Many university programs are extremely demanding on a student’s time and adding work to the mix can be overwhelming.  Make sure you speak to your student advisor to get the advice you need to make good academic and work mix decisions.

Contact a student enrolment advisor for more information on studying at university in Canada.

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