Working in Canada as International Students

As international student, you may be eligible to work in Canada while studying and after you graduate. As a study permit holder, you may qualify to work on-campus or off-campus without an additional work permit if you meet specific criteria. You may also apply for a post-graduation work permit after you graduate from an eligible institution.

Off-Campus Employment Requirements

To work off-campus, an international student must:

  • have a valid Study Permit
  • be a full-time student
  • be enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level
  • be 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
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) (See details below)

International students cannot work off campus if they are:

  • Participating in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).
  • Participating in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFAIT.
  • Receiving funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
  • Participating in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, Canada-Chile.
  • Participating in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program.
  • Participating in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program.
  • Registered in either an English as a Second Language or French as a Second Language program
  • A visiting or exchange student without a study permit.

On-Campus Employment Requirements

Full-time international and exchange students with a valid study permit can work on-campus at York. You are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while registered as a full-time student, and work full time during academic scheduled break.

    • A work permit is not required for on campus employment.
    • A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is required for all people who work in Canada.

International Student Employment Fund (ISEF)

The International Student Employment Fund (ISEF) provides funding to York University departments and units that are able to offer employment to international students.

International students who would like an ISEF-funded position must complete two steps:

Students first apply to ISEF through York International. Eligibility for ISEF positions will be determined by reviewing a completed ISEF application form. Please complete and submit this form online.

Approved students can then apply to departments directly for available positions. Listings are posted on York's Career Centre website.

Please note that if a student's status changes from international to Permanent Resident, the student is no longer eligible for ISEF effective the date of PRC status change.

Social Insurance Number (SIN): required to work in Canada

What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

A Social Insurance Number is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. It allows an employer to process payroll while informing the Canadian Revenue Agency of the amount of money a person earns.

How to obtain a SIN?

If an international student has received a job offer regardless on or off campus, the student must apply for a SIN before he/she can receive earnings and benefits. International students can obtain SIN onsite by presenting original passport, study permit as well as a full time enrolment letter from York at any Service Canada location. Please click here to find out more about SIN.

Note: If your employer has questions about the process for hiring an international student, detailed information can be found on CIC’s website (English/Français).

Internships and Co-operative Education at York

For many students, York’s internship and co-operative education programs provide great opportunities to supplement their in-class education with in-the-field experience. In many cases, these work placements are paid positions and therefore can also help to offset the financial cost of a university education.

If you are considering adding an Internship or Co-operative Education placement to your degree, York has several options depending on your area of studies. Visit the Career Centre’s webpage.

In order to participate in a co-op or internship placement, you require a Co-op Work Permit. Eligibilities for Co-op work permit include:

  • You must have a valid study permit.
  • Your employment must be part of your academic program, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.
  • Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada.
  • Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50% (percent) of the total program of study.

Please click here for more information about Co-op work permit.

After Graduation

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Upon completion of your degree at York, you may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit which is an open work permit that allows you to work in Canada for up to three years. At the time of the application, your study permit must be valid and you must apply within 90 days of the release of you final grades. A job offer is NOT required for this permit. Please click here to see if you are qualified for this permit. For more information, please come to speak to the Immigration Specialist at York International.

Getting Help With Your Job Search

York's Career Centre has the knowledge and resources to help you in all stages of your career path.

They can help you to improve your resume, prepare for interviews, plan your post-graduate career, and even find a job while you are still a student.

Visit their website to learn about all of the services available to you.