Working for International Students

International studentsInternational students in Canada are not automatically granted a right to work, rather they must apply for student work permits from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Permanent Residents and citizens of Canada are, on the other hand, absolutely allowed to study and work at the same time at any school that they can get accepted into.

Depending on what kind of work a student will be doing they may have to file for a different kind of work permit. Below are the three general work permit categories for international students.

On-Campus Work

Working on-campus as a student may not require a separate work permit as long as the student fulfills these requirements:

  • Student must be in a full-time program
  • Student must have a valid study permit
  • Student must be enrolled in an accepted post-secondary school that grants degrees.

With those requirements met, international students may work on-campus.

Off-Campus Work

To be able to work off-campus as an international student, the applicant must be able to meet the above qualifications for on-campus work and apply for a work permit with the CIC.

A work permit allows international students to work 20 hours a week when school is in session and 40 hours a week during breaks.

International students are expected to find their own employment and they must not start work until they have their work permit.

Student advisors at schools will be able to help international students apply for work permits.


Some academic programs have internships as a part of coursework and these programs can be very helpful for one’s career.

However, international students must obtain work permits and student visas in order to do an internship.

Students looking to intern in Canada should contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada to get a better idea of how to apply.