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Working in Canada as an International Student

Last updated: 7 August 2023 Student Study Permit Working as a Student

Not only does Canada offer world-class academic institutions, but it also provides opportunities for international students to work during and after their studies.

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 the reason, the chance to get valuable work experience while studying in Canada excites everyone. If you are also looking for some information on this front, you are in the right place.

If you want to study and earn in Canada, book a free consultation with SI-Canada today to learn more about the best options and start your application process. 

working in canada international student

Working in Canada as an International Student | What You Need to Know

- A Canadian Study Permit is Required

You must obtain a study permit before working in Canada as an international student. A study permit is an important document issued by the Canadian government and allows one to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. The study permit usually states that you can work as an international student in Canada. To apply for a study permit, you will 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 open a bank account easily and file for personal taxes. If 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 on-campus or off-campus jobs. 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 readily available businesses 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 ready to hire. For this, it is advised that you look presentable enough for the kind of job you're applying to. 

As mentioned earlier, all these jobs can be done during the academic sessions, but you must consider the limit of the time duration, as part-time jobs should not hurt 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 that allow students to go for co-op work options. Many programs in several universities mandate that students take up this type of work during their academic term to complete their education. 

You must have a separate co-op work and 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 completing your studies, 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 at a DLI. If your course ran from eight months to 2 years, the stay-back option will apply for the time you studied. If you study for a degree for two or more years, 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.

Tips for Finding Jobs in Canada

Now that you know about the job opportunities and the overall scenario, it makes sense to know how to find a job in Canada.

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.

- Sales

Many international students working in real establishments prefer a sales assistant job. 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.

- Tutoring

If you are looking for a job wherein you can share your knowledge and earn money, 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.

Minimum Wage for International Students in Canada

The minimum wage for international students in Canada is around CA$13, but this does vary from state to state. This is the minimum amount, and one can earn more depending on the job type, location, and skills required to fulfill the job responsibilities. The Alberta, British Columbia, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories provinces have the highest minimum wage for students per hour, starting at 15-16 CAD in most regions.

Study in Canada

If you want to study in Canada, arrange a free consultation with SI-Canada today.

Working in Canada as an International Student FAQ

Is it hard to find a job in Canada as an international student?

Finding a job in Canada can be tough, but 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 can work more than 20 hours a week. 

What happens if I work over 20 hours as an international student in Canada?

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, you could easily earn up to CAD 1,120 per month.

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Increase your chances of success when applying

SI-Canada specializes in selecting the right Canadian university or college for international students by reviewing your academic background, discussing your career goals and helping you apply. Our application services can help you achieve your dream of studying in Canada.

"Everything was explained well to me by Vidushi. There was a 100% transparency in everything and Vidushi was highly responsive throughout the process making it smooth and hassle free for me. Rahul from the Visa team also was really patient in the entire process and made sure I understood and get things done timely."

Amanpreet KaurInternational Business Management (May 2024 intake)

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