It’s almost 2020! Before 2019 comes to an end, we rounded up some of the frequently asked questions by our international students regarding studying and working in Canada. If you currently hold a study permit, we want to share these important reminders on a number of key immigration issues and invite you to do a self-check at this time.
It is important that you comply with the conditions of your study permit as an international student. Failing to comply with these conditions can lead to enforcement action and affect your future applications for permanent residence.
What do I have to do if I change schools or programs?
You must update IRCC each time you change post-secondary schools. Changing the post-secondary school in your IRCC account is free and can be done online. You don’t need to apply for a new study permit if you are changing schools.
When you do not tell IRCC that you have changed your designated learning institution (DLI), you are reported to IRCC by your previous school as not attending class. This can lead to an investigation into failing to comply with your study permit conditions. It could ultimately result in you being required to leave Canada.
You must update IRCC when you change programs if you have a co-op work permit and you have changed post-secondary schools to another co-op program or if you need to change conditions on your study permit.
What do I need to do if I change my address?
You must keep your contact information up to date with IRCC. You can change your residential address by using the IRCC Web form.
What do I need to know if I plan on travelling outside of Canada during the winter break?
Your Canadian study permit is not a travel document. Students with a valid study permit who are planning to leave Canada during the winter break need to have up-to-date documents to re-enter Canada.
If you want to travel outside Canada and re-enter, you will need the following documents in addition to your study permit:
- A Temporary Resident Visa (if you are not from a visa-exempt country); or
- An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) (if you are from a visa-exempt country and you are traveling to Canada by air); and
- A valid passport.
You don’t need a valid visa if you return directly from a visit only to the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon. This exception doesn’t apply for eTAs.
Can I work while studying in Canada?
You may be eligible to work in Canada while studying, if your study permit is valid and includes a condition that says you can work on-campus, off-campus, or both.
- Before your program begins
You can only start working in Canada when you start your study program. You can’t work before your studies begin.
- Working while you study
During regular school semesters, you are allowed to work off-campus up to a maximum of 20 hours per week.
During scheduled breaks in the school year, such as during winter and summer holidays, you can work full-time if you hold full-time status during the academic session before and after their regularly scheduled break.
There is no maximum number of hours eligible students may work on-campus.
- Working as a co-op student or intern
You can apply for a co-op work permit if work is required to complete your study program in Canada and you have a letter from your school that confirms all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree. Your co-op placement or internship must not total more than 50% your study program.
You may not start your co-op placement or internship until you receive a co-op work permit.
- Working after graduation
You must stop working as soon as you receive confirmation from your DLI that you have met all the requirements for graduation.
You can work full-time once you have submitted your application for a post-graduation work permit if your study permit is still valid; you completed your study program; you were eligible to work off-campus without a work permit while studying; and you didn’t work more hours than you were allowed to.
If your PGWP application is refused, you must stop working immediately.
Can I apply for my post-graduation work permit (PGWP) at a port of entry?
You should not apply for a PGWP to the Canada Border Services Agency at a port of entry. Only certain types of work permits can be applied at ports of entry and PGWP is not one of them.
You may not apply for a PGWP on entry unless you are a national or permanent resident of the United States or a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon.
As students who apply for a PGWP before their study permit expires are authorized to work while their PGWP application is in process, there should be no reason to apply for a PGWP at port of entry.
Learn more about the conditions under which international students can work by visiting our website. Immigration legislations are constantly evolving. We strongly encourage you to visit the IRCC website for most up-to-date information and speak with our Immigration Specialists regarding your situations.
- Study in Canada as an international student
- Studying and working in Canada as an international student