On & Off Campus Work
Can I Work in Canada?
If you are an international student with full-time registration status and a valid study permit, you may be eligible to work on campus using your study permit.
You are eligible to work off campus without a work permit if you meet all the following:
- you hold a valid study permit;
- you have off-campus work authorization noted on your study permit;
- you are enrolled as a full-time student, unless:
- you are on a scheduled break (you are not required to be full-time, or to study at all), or
- you are in the final term of your program (part-time enrollment is acceptable);
- your program leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, and is at least six months long (this includes exchange students whose program at their home institution meets this criteria); and,
- you have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).
You must stop working on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements (i.e. if you are no longer a full-time student).
You are not eligible to work off campus if:
- you are a visiting student
- your study permit says you aren’t authorized to work off campus while you study
- you’re only enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program
- you’re only taking general interest courses
- you’re only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program
- your situation changes and you no longer meet all of the requirements to work off campus
Confirming enrollment status and whether your program has scheduled breaks
If the information is not clear on ACORN, you can contact your Registrar’s Office to confirm what course load is required to maintain full-time enrollment and to determine if your program has scheduled breaks. Full-time enrollment is one of the main eligibility criteria for work authorization as an international student.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Study permits must have specific remarks on them to allow you to get your SIN issued.
If the remarks are not included, and you were an academic student when you applied for your study permit (ie. not an English Language student) you can request an amendment to your permit.
The amendment process requires you to mail the application to an office in Ottawa. You must also send:
- your actual current study permit (not a copy);
- a copy of the acceptance letter or confirmation of enrollment used when you applied for your current study permit, and;
- a current confirmation of enrollment.
It will likely take more than one month for a new study permit with the same expiry date but the correct conditions to be sent to your Canadian mailing address.
If you want your study permit extended, you must apply for a new study permit.
Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of your current study permit when you send the actual permit.
If you want to work in a health-care setting, primary/secondary school setting, or other jobs where the protection of public health is important, you must undergo an Immigration Medical Exam (IME). The remark on your study permit is likely due to you not having an IME previously. To get the remark removed, you will need to apply to change the conditions of your study permit and complete an IME with a panel physician (either before you apply, known as an upfront medical exam, or before a decision is made on your new application). We recommend completing the upfront medical exam in the hopes that it will speed up the process. You should not begin work that is not authorized by your existing permit until you receive your new study permit that has the restrictions removed.
If you meet the eligibility criteria to work on campus that is noted on this page, you can work for any on-campus employer (including the university) with no limit to the number of hours. The same rule applies if your work takes place at an affiliated research facility (like the University Health Network), as long as the research is related to your academic area of focus. Questions about what is on-campus or off-campus can be directed to our advising team.
If you have finished your coursework, exams or defended your thesis, and you were eligible to work according to the rules noted on the page above, you can continue working 20hrs a week (or full-time if you qualify for the temporary policy change) off-campus, or full-time on-campus until the final marks are released in your final term or degree completion confirmation is available, whichever comes first. Please refer to the Hours of Work section under the Off-Campus Work tab for more details of the temporary policy change regarding off-campus work hours.
After Applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
You can begin working full-time after applying for a PGWP if you:
- had a valid study permit when you submitted your application
- completed your study program
- were eligible to work off campus without a work permit while studying and you didn’t work more hours than you were allowed to
If your study permit expires after you apply, but before a decision is made about your PGWP, you can continue working until a decision is made on your application.
If you’re starting a new study program
You can work full-time if you meet the following requirements:
- You were already able to work off-campus during your previous studies
- You have a valid study permit or you applied to extend your study permit before it expired
- You received written confirmation from the University that you completed your program
- You received a letter of acceptance to a new full-time study program at a DLI
If the new study program starts more than 150 days after the completion of your previous program, you can only work for the first 150 days of the break between the two programs. You can begin working under the standard on and off-campus work rules (noted above) once you return to full-time studies.