Working in Canada as International Students

Working in Canada as an International Student

As an 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. Please visit the Immigration Specialist at York International for an individual advising if you would like to learn more about working as an international student while studying at York University.

To work off-campus, an international student must:
  • Have a valid study permit with a condition allowing you to work off campus
  • 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)
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.
Detailed information can be found here. Normally the maximum number of hours during a regular academic term is 20 hours per week for off-campus work. However, according to the IRCC announcement on October 7, 2022, some students may be eligible to work full-time off-campus starting from November 15, 2022. Take our quiz to find out if you are eligible to work full-time off campus during this temporary policy update.
International students may work on campus at York with their study permit if they are full time students in a degree/diploma/certificate program. The study permit must be valid and have a condition authorizing the student to work on campus. Please note:
  • There is no time limit for On-Campus work.
  • A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is required.
Detailed information from Immigration Canada can be found here.  If you are looking for an on campus job, a way to get involved, or an opportunity to improve your leadership skills, be sure to check out the 'Work at YI' page here.

What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

A Social Insurance Number is a nine-digit number that you need in order 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 about 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. To apply for a SIN, international students need their original passport, study permit and a document to confirm your address. During COVID-19, applications must be made online or by mail. See Applying for a SIN. Detailed information can be found here. Note: If your employer has questions about the process for hiring an international student, detailed information can be found on CIC's website
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.
Detailed information can be found here. From November 15, 2022, to December 31, 2023, you may not need to apply for a co-op work permit if you are eligible to benefit from IRCC's temporary policy change to work more than 20 hours per week, and your co-op placement ends by December 31, 2023. Take our quiz to find out if you are eligible to work full-time off campus during this temporary policy update. If your co-op placement ends after December 31, 2023, or if you aren’t eligible for the temporary policy change, you need to apply for a co-op work permit to cover the period after that date. We recommend all students with a required work placement in their program apply for a co-op work permit, regardless of the temporary policy. The application for a co-op work permit is free and it gives them the flexibility to do their work placement outside of the temporary policy dates.

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. Please note that you must have continuously studied full time in an academic program for more than eight months to be eligible. Part time studies may make you ineligible for a post graduate work permit. At the time of the application your study permit must be valid if you would like to work full time while waiting for the permit to be processed. You must apply within 180 days of the release of your final grades. Note that as of February 14th 2019, you will need to provide both a graduation letter AND an official transcript in the work permit application. For more information please contact our immigration specialist.
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.

For more information, feel free to check out the Immigration Application Resources and Tutorial Videos page or Employment at York page.