Different culture, land and new opportunity are the things that come to mind when you think about studying abroad. When you finally arrive and enter the world of knowledge in the foreign land, the very next thing you are aiming for is to get a job right after graduation. The truth is that it isn’t just a matter of time but how ready you are before entering the workforce.

Gain valuable work experience is a one way to help your transition to the workforce. It does not only help you finance your study abroad but also prepare you ahead before going to the workforce. Working while studying may require you to have a study permit, so it is a good to understand the options when you plan to work while studying abroad. Fortunately, there are many work permit programs that allow international students and their partners to work while studying in Canada.

Working On-campus

Study permit holders who are studying full time at Canadian universities or colleges may be eligible to work on-campus without a work permit. Make sure you check out on the Canadian government website if this rule still applies.

Working off-campus

As a new rule, June 1, 2014, study permit holders in Canada may qualify to work off campus without a work permit. You must:

  1. have a valid study permit
  2. be a full-time student
  3. be enrolled at a designated learning institution listed by the Canadian government at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level and studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

You must maintain your status as a full-time student otherwise you will be no longer able to work without a work permit. You will allow to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and work full-time during scheduled breaks such as the winter, summer holidays or spring break.


The different rule applied in co-op/internships. International students who plan to get into co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit. You must have a valid study permit, your intended employment must be an essential part of your study program, and must be part of your academic, vocational or professional program offered by designated learning institution listed by the Canadian government. Your co-op or internships employment also cannot form more than fifty percent of the total program of study. You will not be eligible to work during your studies if you study English or French as a second language ESL/FSL or participate in general interest or preparatory courses.

Working after graduation

Gaining Canadian work experience while studying will help you toward your career upon graduation and eventually help you to immigrate to Canada permanently.

Post-graduate work program

The Canadian government offers Post-Graduation Work Permit Program that allows you to work after you graduate. You need to apply and meet the eligibility requirement.

Becoming a permanent resident of Canada

There are a number of programs available that allow you to stay in Canada as a permanent resident after you graduate such as Canadian Experience Class and Provincial nominee program.

Whatever your journey ends, studying abroad gives you many advantages. You will gain an internationally recognized degree or diploma, invaluable work experience from a foreign country or acquire a step to further your studies for advanced credentials in Canada or another country and the most important thing is to help you get your dream career.