Not only does Canada offer world-class academic institutions, but it also provides opportunities for international students to work during and after their studies. This opportunity to work during and after the study years attracts thousands of students each year, who reach Canada with a dream in their eyes, to have international study and work experience.
Many international students with budget constraints take up loans to study and try to pay that off during or soon after graduation. Others work to have some extra cash in hand while studying abroad. Whatever might be the reason, the chance to get valuable work experience while studying in Canada excites everyone, and if you too are looking for some information on this front, then you are in the right place.
Working in Canada as an International Student | What You Need to Know
- A Canadian Study Permit is Required
Before you can work in Canada as an international student, you must first obtain a study permit. A study permit is an important document that is issued by the Canadian government and allows one to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. In most cases, the study permit states that you are permitted to work in Canada as an international student. To apply for a study permit, you will also need an acceptance letter from a DLI, proof of sufficient funds to cover the tuition fees and living expenses, and a clean criminal record.
Once your study permit is approved, you must also obtain a SIN (Social Insurance Number) from Service Canada, which allows you to easily open a bank account and file for personal taxes. In case your study permit doesn't state that you can work, you get that amended for free before applying for a SIN.
- Off-campus and on-campus jobs are available
If you are eligible to work in Canada and your study program has started, you can apply for jobs which might be available on-campus or off-campus. In all cases, you can work up to 20 hours per week during your academic terms. This can be extended to a full-time job during the scheduled breaks, but you can start working during the short break you might have before the session starts.
On-campus jobs can be availed whenever possible, whether at the university itself or with a faculty member or any third-party vendor functioning at the university, such as a gym or a restaurant. To get off-campus jobs, you can apply through a CV and cover letter, which can be sent online. You can also look for jobs in your neighbourhood at businesses that are readily available to give jobs to international students. In these cases, you may have to physically reach out with your CVs and be prepared for an interview at the spot of the person who is ready to hire. For this, it is advised that you look presentable enough for the kind of job you're applying to.
All these jobs can be done during the academic sessions, as mentioned earlier, but you must consider the limit of the time duration, as part-time jobs should not have a negative impact on your studies. It can also have serious consequences for your study permit conditions, as a violation may lead to losing student status, and you may also need to return to your home country.
- Co-op Work Permit Provides Further Opportunities
The Canadian education system is known to have experiential learning opportunities which give students a chance to go for co-op work options. Many programs in several universities mandate that a student takes up this type of work during their academic term to complete their education.
You must have a separate co-op work permit along with your study permit if your degree mandates that, which is usually mentioned in the confirmation letter. You can apply for the same during the application of your study permit or can get it after coming to the university, wherein the officials can also help you out.
- Your Eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
Upon successful completion of your study years, you may also be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The PGWP allows you to work in Canada for a duration equal to the length of your study program, up to a maximum of three years. To be eligible for the PGWP, you must have completed a course of at least eight months' duration at a DLI. If your course ran from eight months to 2 years, then the stay-back option will be applicable for the amount of time you studied. If you study for a degree for two or more years, then you can stay and work in Canada for up to three years.
The PGWP is a fantastic opportunity for international graduates to gain Canadian work experience and potentially transition to permanent residence through various immigration pathways.
Top Tips for Finding Jobs in Canada
Now that you know about the job opportunities and the overall scenario, it makes sense to know how actually to find a job in Canada.
- Start early and be proactive: You must begin your job search as early as possible after reaching Canada. Research potential job opportunities, industries, and companies of interest even before arriving in Canada.
- Work on your resume and cover letter: You must tailor the resume and cover letter to match the Canadian job market standards before applying to any job.
- Build a professional network: Networking is very crucial in Canada's job market as a student and even at later stages of your career.
- Use campus resources: Many Canadian universities and colleges offer career services and job placement assistance. You can certainly take advantage of these resources, including career counselling, resume workshops, and job fairs held at the university.
- Improve language skills: Strong English or French language proficiency is essential for most job positions in Canada.
- Be open to various job opportunities: While it's essential to focus on your career goals, as an international student looking for a part-time job, you must be open to exploring different job opportunities.
- Research labour market trends: It is always a wise decision to stay informed about the current job market trends in Canada.
- Prepare for Interviews: You can practice the common interview questions and research the company before the interviews.
- Stay positive and persistent: The right mindset is as important as the correct steps taken. The job search process can be challenging, but maintaining a positive attitude and staying persistent is crucial.
Popular Jobs for International Students in Canada
- Restaurant, bars and coffee shop service
To work in the service industry in Canada, students must have excellent communication skills. The average pay of servers is not the highest, but customers in Canada are expected to pay around 15-18% tips, which total out to be good amounts for the students. The flexible working hours also make this option better for students who need to make time for their studies.
A sales assistant job is a preferred option for many international students who work in real establishments. They get the experience of selling goods ranging from garments to groceries, and in the meantime, acquire transferable skills for building a better career. The job of a sales assistant teaches students to handle people and communicate well, which are very important for a prosperous career.
If you are looking for a job wherein you can share your knowledge and earn money from that, then tutoring can be the perfect fit. Tutoring services can be given to students of any age and in multiple academic disciplines. Your earnings can be great depending on the subject you teach, your location, and the number of students. Typically, tutors can earn between 30-60 CAD per hour.
Working in Canada as an International Student FAQ
Is it hard to find a job in Canada as an international student?
Though finding a job in Canada can be a tough task, it is certainly not impossible. With the right mindset and skill sets, you can find a job if you keep looking for it at the right places.
What is the new work policy for international students in Canada?
According to the new temporary public policy, some study permit holders are allowed to work for more than 20 hours a week.
What happens if I work more than 20 hours in Canada as an international student?
If you are found to be working for more than the limit, then it would be considered a violation of the study permit. In this case, you could lose your student status in Canada and may also not be eligible for a study or work permit in future.
How much can a student earn in Canada per month?
The amount a student can earn in Canada per month can vary depending on many factors, including the type of job, the province or city where they work, their work hours, and their skills and qualifications. But, going by the minimum wages, which vary by province or territory, students can expect to earn from CAD 11.25 to CAD 16 per hour. If we calculate this keeping the average at CAD 14, and considering you work 20 hours per week, then you could easily earn up to CAD 1,120 per month.