A guide to working as an international student in Canada

Working while studying abroad can add value to your overall experience in a new country, and Canada is known to have one of the most work-friendly policies if you have a work permit. ‘studies. If you are enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), you have the right to work under certain conditions as an international student in Canada.

Landing your first gig can be the hardest part of the journey, especially if you have no previous work experience. It doesn’t help that employers prefer locals in the hiring process, resulting in international students being routinely ignored, even in entry-level jobs.

If you’re looking for work as a Canadian study permit holder, here’s what you need to know:

How many hours can I work as an international student in Canada?

As a full-time student, you are not permitted to work more than 20 off-campus hours during the academic year. This is a condition outlined on your study permit, and violating it can have serious consequences for your immigration status, including ruining your chances of obtaining permanent resident status after obtaining your diploma or, in the worst case, expulsion.

Your primary role as a student in a DLI is to complete your coursework and graduate on time. You can exceed the 20 hour per week cap if you work on campus. However, you should not accumulate these hours at your job, as it can distract you from your studies and put additional pressure on your life abroad.

You can only work full-time off-campus during scheduled school holidays, such as during the summer or winter break.

What types of jobs are available to me?

If you work part-time, most jobs open to international students will be entry-level positions. These include jobs in retail and merchandising, reception duties, servers in food and beverage services, and baristas in cafes, which are usually located indoors or close to university campuses.

You are paid hourly based on the number of shifts you work in a week, and it is your responsibility to inform your superiors of your working hour limits. Try to request shifts that don’t conflict with your schedule, so you have time to recharge between your work and your classes.

Retail positions are among the most popular part-time jobs for international students in Canada. Credit: Monica Schipper/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Keep an eye out for part-time positions within different faculties, such as lab assistants or data entry positions, which are usually listed in the university’s job portal. International students in Canada are also eligible for these roles, and the work is almost always related to faculty research, which helps build your resume for future careers in your field.

Paid Internships and Co-ops

Landing an internship or co-op placement as an international student in Canada is a real test of your ability to apply the theoretical knowledge from your courses in the real world. You are eligible to work as a student intern in Canada only if work experience is required to complete your study program.

In addition to expanding your professional network and developing soft skills essential in today’s job market, internships and work-study programs increase your chances of being hired right after graduation, especially if you have made a good impression. with your employers.

To get one in the first place, leverage your network of students and faculty to find out about positions ahead of time, so you can make the necessary preparations to apply. Search for opportunities on LinkedIn, job boards, or your college career center to find the right match for your interests and career goals.

Can I start a business as an international student in Canada?

International student entrepreneurs who want to try their hand at business may consider whether they can start their own business while studying in Canada. To do this, you will need to contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for an amended study permit to obtain work status approval for off-campus work. However, the limits on your working hours stipulated on your study permit still apply even if you have your own business.

Work in Canada after graduation

Without a doubt, one of the most attractive factors to attract international students to Canada is the PGWP, a permit that allows you to work for as long as your years of study, but not exceeding three years. The PGWP is a one-time agreement, which means you are not allowed to extend it after it expires.

Landing a full-time, permanent job with the PGWP is often the first step towards securing a PR in Canada, so getting a head start by submitting your resume as soon as possible is the best strategy to ensure that you land a job in time before your temporary residence permit expires.