Work off campus as an international student 

  • you have started studying
  • you have a study permit with a condition printed on it that allows you to work on or off campus
  • you are in a program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate and that is at least 6 months long
  • you have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you are no longer a full-time student, you can still work off campus if you meet both of these requirements:

  • you have been a full-time student since you started your program in Canada
  • you are now studying part time only because this is your last semester, and you do not need a full course load to complete your program

You and your employer must make sure you are eligible to work off campus without a work permit before you start working. If you start working off campus but do not meet the requirements, you may be asked to leave Canada.

Who cannot work off campus

You cannot work off campus without a work permit if:

  • you have a study permit that says you are not authorized to work on or off campus while you study
  • your situation changes, and you no longer meet all of the requirements to work off campus
  • you are enrolled in only an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program
  • you are taking only general interest courses
  • you are taking only required courses to be accepted into a full-time program

If any of these situations applies to you, you need a valid work permit to work in Canada.

Why you need a SIN to work in Canada

The SIN is a 9 digit number that the Government of Canada gives you. It lets you work in Canada or get benefits and services from government programs.

To apply for a SIN to work off-campus, you must have 1 of these conditions printed on your study permit:

  • May work 20 hours per week off campus or full time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria, per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w) and must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.

If you’re eligible to work off campus, but we didn’t include either of these conditions on your study permit, you can ask to have them added. There’s no fee to add these conditions. You’ll need to request an amendment to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN from Service Canada.

If your study situation has changed

If you weren’t eligible to work off campus but now your study situation has changed, you may be able to change the conditions of your study permit.

You can apply if:

  • you’ve changed your study program to one that may allow you to work off campus and your study permit says “This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada”, or
  • we included a condition on your study permit that may no longer apply

You must apply to change the conditions of your study permit. There is a fee to make this change. You must do this before you can apply for a SIN.

How many hours can you work off campus?

You can work up to 20 hours per week if the work is during regular school sessions.

Working on scheduled breaks

You can also work full time on scheduled breaks that are part of the academic calendar of your DLI, for example, the winter and summer holidays and reading week.

You cannot work full time if you are enrolled in an intensive program that does not have scheduled breaks.

You cannot work until you start your program of study in Canada.


After you finish your studies

After you finish your studies, you can work full time if you meet the conditions in 1 of the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: You applied for a work permit

You can work full time if you

  • already met the requirements to work off campus during your studies
  • applied for a work permit before your study permit expired and
  • are waiting for a decision on your work permit application

Scenario 2: You are starting a new program of study

You can work full time if you

  • were eligible to work off campus during your previous program of study
  • have a valid study permit, or you applied for a study permit extension before your study permit expired
  • received a written confirmation from your current institution that you completed your program
  • were issued a letter of acceptance to a new program of full‑time study at a DLI and
  • will be starting your new program within 150 calendar days of receiving confirmation that you completed your previous program

If your work or study permit application is refused, you must stop working and leave Canada.

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