As a foreigner you can study and work in Canada at the same time. This privilege is to enable you help your spouse or common-law partner get a work permit while you study, work temporarily or stay permanently in Canada after you graduate as an international student.
However, this privilege comes with conditions and and not everyone is eligible for it. Therefore, as an international student in Canada, you can only work on- or off-campus if your study permit lists a condition that allows such.
working “on-campus” means you can work at all the buildings on your school campus. As an international student, you can only start working on-campus in Canada when you start your study program. You can’t work before your studies begin. While your studies are in progress, you can work on your school campus, without a work permit, only if you:
- have a valid study permit,
- have a Social Insurance Number (SIN), and
- are a full-time post-secondary student at a
- Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law
- public post-secondary school, such as a college, university, trade or technical school, or CEGEP in Quebec
- private post-secondary school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec
- private or public secondary or post-secondary institution in Quebec offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) or an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS)
Who cannot work on-campus
You shall stop working on-campus:
- on the day you stop your full-time studies, unless you’re in your final semester and you meet other requirements
- if you are switching schools and are not currently studying
- once your study permit expires
- if you are on an authorized leave from your studies
Apply for BC Government Jobs for Foreigners in Canada.
Where you can work
As we said earlier, working “on-campus” means you can work at all the buildings on your school campus. In most cases, if your school has more than one campus, you may only work at the campus where you are studying.
However, you can work at other locations if you are working as a teaching or research assistant and/or your work is strictly related to a research grant. In this case, you may work at a library, hospital or research facility associated with your school, even if they are outside the campus. Medical examination is required if you work at a hospital or other place where the protection of public health is important.
Who you can work for
You can be working for:
- the school
- a private contractor that provides on-campus services to the school
- a faculty member
- a private business
- a student organization
- yourself if you run a business that is physically located on-campus
How can I get my Social Insurance Number to work in Canada?
Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that the Government of Canada gives you. With your SIN, you can work in Canada and get government benefits and services. To get your SIN to work on-campus, you must have 1 of these conditions printed on your study permit:
- May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
- This permit does not authorize the holder to engage in off campus employment in Canada. May accept employment only on campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
However, if you are eligible to work on campus, but the above conditions are not on your study permit, you can ask to have them added. To add these conditions to your permit free of charge.
Note that you will need to request an amendment to your study permit before you can be eligible to apply for a SIN from Service Canada.
Learn more about work on-campus in Canada.