Canada: Work Opportunities for International Students

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Many students, especially those from developing countries, opt to study abroad in order to enhance their resume and improve their employability. But studying in countries like Canada is not easy on the pockets due to its high tuition fees and substantial cost of living. Hence many international students opt to work part-time in order to bear their expenses and not be out of pockets in a land very far away from home.

According to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), a department of Canadian government, international students in the country may work on campus or off campus or can opt to work as a co–op student or intern, if they want to earn while they study in order to support their pocket.

Work On-campus

Working on-campus is a very convenient way for resident students who have time between their classes. The only considerations are

  • You must be full-time student.
  • Should have a valid study permit.

You can opt to work as

  • Temporary administrative staff
  • Library clerks and shelvers
  • Peer tutors
  • Resident assistants
  • Coordinators and assistants

Also you should not forget to check out your university’s website for recruitment notices and keep an eye on job boards as some departments hire on an as-needed basis.


Work Off-campus

Working off-campus is another way to earn your pocket. As per the new rules, in effect from June 1, 2014, the need for a work permit has been curtailed.

To qualify you must

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Be a full-time student
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.
  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at secondary level.

If you qualify, you are allowed

  • To work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions
  • Work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as winter and summer holidays or spring break.

International students can work off-campus as

  • Tutor for other college students
  • Bartender or waitress at a restaurant
  • School bus or cab drivers
  • Receptionist or office assistants


Work as a co-op student or intern

For some academic programmes, work experience is mandatory. In such cases, international students can opt for a co-op (Co-operative education in which students work with the professionals in their major field of study and get paid) or paid internship programme. But then, they will have to apply for both work permit and study permit.

In order to qualify for a work permit, you must meet the following requirements

  • You must have a valid study permit
  • Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada.
  • Your employment must be a part of your academic, vocational or professional training program, and must be certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.
  • Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50% of the total program of study.

You won’t be eligible to work if you are studying with English or French as a second language.

So although working part time while studying in Canada is a good option, it will be even more better if you consider what sort of job will be well-suited to you and then decide accordingly. Thus, your experience of studying in Canada will be enhanced and who knows, you might even come to enjoy your part-time job!


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