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

International students may work on campus at York without a work permit if you are a full time student with a valid study permit. Please note:

    • A work permit is not required for on campus employment.
    • There is no time limit for On-Campus work.
    • A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is required.

International Student Employment Fund (ISEF)

Information for International Students

The International Student Employment Fund (ISEF) provides funding to York University departments and units that are able to offer employment opportunities to undergraduate international students. Graduate students please consult with Faculty of Graduate Studies for employment funding support (i.e. RA, TA etc.)

1. General ISEF eligibility requirements for International Students

  • Currently hold a valid study permit.
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate academic program at York University on a full time basis (a minimum 18 credits for Fall and Winter session combined).
  • Demonstrate financial need

2. Steps to apply

If you meet ALL of the above criteria, and would like an ISEF-funded position, please follow the steps below:

  1. Apply to ISEF through York International. Please click here to complete and submit the application form online. In the application, please ensure that you attach a copy of valid study permit AND an explanation of your financial situation.
  2. You will be notified via email of your eligibility for ISEF positions by York International.
  3. Approved students must apply to different departments directly for posted ISEF positions.

3. Application deadline

As most of the ISEF positions on campus are posted early of the school year, we highly recommend that international students start searching and applying for ISEF positions on campus as early as in the summer.


  1. Approved eligibility of ISEF does NOT guarantee employment opportunities.
  2. Approved students can find listed ISEF positions posted on York’s Career Centre website.
  3. If you become a Permanent Resident from international student, you are no longer eligible for ISEF effective the date of your immigration status changes.
  4. ISEF is ONLY available to International Students. For domestic students (Permanent Residents or Canadian Citizens) please check out Work/Study Program.


Information for Employers

The International Student Employment Fund (ISEF) provides funding to York University departments and units that are able to offer employment to international students. York International administers ISEF by approving department and unit positions for funding, transferring the funding to departments and units, and assessing students’ eligibility for ISEF positions.

These positions are excluded from supervisory and managerial work as well as work normally performed by volunteer and bargaining unit positions, i.e. research assistants and office/clerical/administrative assistants. Departments whose jobs are approved are eligible to receive grants of 50% of the salary, up to a maximum of $1500. Position are determined in two time frames:

  • Fall & Winter Terms (Sept to April)
  • Summer Term (May to end of August).

Departments seeking ISEF grants must complete the job descriptions for approval on the Career Centre Job Posting Website called Simplicity. Note: be sure to select "Position Type: ISEF" (International Student Employment Fund).  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling weekly basis until the date indicated below. Notification will be sent through Simplicity if approved. Deadlines for consideration:

  • Summer Term: last business day in May.
  • Fall/Winter Term:  last business day in Oct.

Students, once approved, must maintain their eligibility throughout their period of employment i.e. full time undergraduate degree seeking international student status. When a student's status changes from international to Permanent Resident, the student is no longer eligible for ISEF effective the date of the status change. Student information for ISEF can be found on the Working in Canada: Opportunities and Requirements page.

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.

Working After Graduation

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Upon completion of your program 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 more information, please come to speak to the Immigration Specialist at York International.


How to Apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit


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.