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Work opportunities in Canada for international students

Even though fees are lower than the US and UK, they may still be a bit out of the reach of some overseas students, especially those from developing countries. Given the nation’s high tuition fees and substantial living costs, ‘Earn while you learn’ might be the motto of every international student in Canada. We give you the lowdown on available work opportunities in Canada for international students.

Offshore students in Canadian Universities have to follow certain work permit legalities laid out by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), a department of the Canadian government. If they want to earn while they study in order to support their studies, international students in the country may work on campus or off campus or else they can opt to work as a co–op student or intern.

As an international student, you can opt for any of the following work opportunities in Canada as suggested by the CIC:

Work off campus:

The CIC allows study permit holders in Canada to gain work experience by working off campus while completing their studies. At present, the CIC has scrapped the Off-Campus Work Permit Program (OCWPP) with effect from June 1, 2014, so they are allowed to work outside the universities’ premises without a work permit. Before 2014, international students had to get a work permit from CIC before going off campus to work which involved a lot of paperwork.

At present, international students will be qualified to work off campus without a work permit, if:

  • they are full-time students having a valid study permit;
  • they are enrolled at a designated learning institution for post-secondary studies or studying a  secondary level vocational programme in Quebec; or
  • they are studying an academic, vocational or professional training programme of at least six months in duration that will earn them a degree, diploma or certificate.

If you qualify, your study permit will permit you to:

  • work off-campus up to 20 hours per week in a regular academic sessions and
  • work off-campus full-time during spring break or winter / summer holidays.

International students commonly work in companies in their field of study as interns, research assistants or coordinators, in banks as tellers or customer service representatives, in restaurants as servers, hosts, cooks or in stores as customer service representatives, cashiers, designers of store displays, etc.

Work on campus:

Students find it easier to manage their time when they work on campus. This is a very convenient way of earning while studying, and is the perfect option for a student resident who has extra time between classes.

You may work on campus at the institution where you study without a work permit if you are a full-time student and you have a valid study permit.

Students commonly work on campus in roles that include interns, assistants or receptionists in the Administrative offices of universities, in stores and restaurants, bookstores in campus, University libraries, coffee shops and so on.


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