Hire international students

You can hire eligible students while they study or after they graduate.

Study permit holders may be eligible to work off campus without a work permit as soon as they begin their studies in Canada.

Eligible students may work for any eligible Canadian employer

  • for up to 20 hours a week while class is in session, and
  • full-time during scheduled breaks

Changes to off-campus work hours

If you have hired international students, they may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week off campus under a temporary public policy. Find out if they meet the requirements.

To qualify, students must

  • have a valid study permit
  • be a full-time student
  • be enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI) at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level, and
  • be studying in a program that:
    • is academic, vocational or professional training
    • leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
    • is at least 6 months long.

Students must make sure they meet these criteria and apply for a social insurance number.

As an employer, you should make sure the student you hire has a valid study permit. You may want to ask the student for a letter of enrolment to confirm that they are studying full-time in an eligible program at a post-secondary school (or a vocational program at the secondary level in Quebec).

Co-op placements and internships

International students are eligible for this type of work permit if

  • they have a valid study permit
  • they have a letter from their school that confirms all students in the program need to complete work placements to get their degree
  • their co-op placement or internship totals 50% or less of their study program

If you’re interested in hiring a student for a co-op placement or internship, you can reach out to DLIs in your community to see if they have co-op students who would be a good fit for your company.

COVID-19 and co-op placements

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many international students are studying online from abroad. If possible, students in this situation can complete a Canadian work placement by working remotely from their home country without a co-op work permit.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

Foreign students who have completed a program of at least 8 months at an eligible Canadian school may apply for a post-graduation work permit. This permit lets them work for any eligible employer in Canada for up to three years, depending on the length of their study program.

  • It is up to the foreign national to apply for a work permit.
  • These permits are open work permits. They let the student work for any eligible employer in Canada.
  • A post-graduation work permit can last up to 3 years, depending on the length of the study program.

Students with work experience may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry.

Students, with or without work experience, may also be eligible for Provincial Nominee Programs.


Employers’ roadmap

This roadmap is a guide for employers at small to medium-sized enterprises who are interested in hiring foreign workers.

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