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.

Working in Canada Guide:

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.)

The application process for ISEF positions has two stages: 1) apply to York International for eligibility to hold an ISEF position and 2) apply to departments that are hiring for ISEF positions.

Stage 1: apply for eligibility to hold an ISEF position

Check that you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Hold a valid study permit during the employment contract.
  • Be a full-time international student* pursuing an undergraduate degree from York. To be considered full-time, you must be enrolled in both fall and winter academic sessions for the equivalent of 18 or more credits, preferably 9 credits per session (12 or more credits for students registered with Counselling and Disability Services, preferably 6 credits per session). Please note: Graduate, Exchange and Visiting students are ineligible for ISEF positions.
  • Demonstrate financial need (must complete the International Student Statement of Financial Need section of the application form found at the link below).
  • Not hold more than one ISEF position per term.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, click here to complete and submit an application form to York International. You will be notified of your eligibility for ISEF positions by an email from York International. Please note eligibility to hold an  ISEF position does NOT guarantee employment.

You are required to maintain your eligibility status during your employment contract. If you receive Permanent Resident status, you are no longer eligible to hold an ISEF position effective the date of your immigration status changes.

Stage 2: apply to departments that are hiring for ISEF positions

Apply directly to hiring departments. Positions are posted on York’s Career Centre website. Departments usually advertise ISEF positions in April/May for summer term positions and July/August for fall/winter term positions. Also check out the Career Centre’s Job Search Workshops!

*If you are a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, apply to the Work/Study Program for domestic students, administered though Student Financial Services.

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 to hold ISEF positions.

ISEF 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. Job descriptions containing these duties will not be granted ISEF. Departments and units whose jobs are approved are eligible to receive grants of 50% of the salary, up to a maximum of $1500. Positions are determined in two time frames:

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

Departments and units seeking ISEF grants complete a job description for approval on the Career Centre's online job posting system.  The Position Type must be tagged “ISEF (International Student Employment Fund)”.  York International reviews summer term positions in April-May and fall/winter term positions in August/mid-September. The deadline to submit 2017/18 fall/winter positions is September 8, 2017. Departments and units are notified of the review results through the online job posting system.

In order to receive the grant, departments and units must ensure their position has been approved for ISEF and their employee maintains eligibility to hold an ISEF position during the employment contract. No exceptions will be made. Funding transfers are initiated by a call for hours in August for summer term positions and March for fall/winter term positions. Student information for ISEF is found above.

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.

Tutorial video for 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.

Tutorial video of Post-Graduate Work Permit Application

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.