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Working in Canada

Laura-Leigh (social sciences) worked for BC Used Oil Management Association.

Laura-Leigh (social sciences) worked for BC Used Oil Management Association.

Making Canadian connections

Working in Canada image - maple leafIf you’re an international student, consider working for Canadian companies while you complete your degree at UVic. You’ll gain valuable work experience, a salary to help pay for your education, and the chance to try out unique jobs you might not find at home.


Do you have questions about working in Canada? Visit International and Exchange Student Services (IESS) or contact Co-op and Career’s international coordinator at intlcoop@uvic.ca.

Can you work
in Canada?

Do you want to work in Canada while you study? Find out if you're eligible and which documents you'll need.

Working on campus

Working on campus

Apply to an on-campus job if you want to work for a UVic department, a faculty member, the library, a commercial outlet (like a store or booth) or a student organization. As an international student, you may work on campus without a work permit if you:

You are not entitled to work in Canada if you’re a part-time student or you’re studying in a short-term program, like an English Language Program.

Working off-campus

Working off-campus

As an international student, you can work off-campus during your studies through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)’s off-campus work permit program. To be eligible for an off-campus work permit, you must:

  • hold a valid study permit
  • be currently registered as a full-time student
  • have been registered as a full-time student for at least 6 out of the last 12 months
  • have maintained satisfactory academic standing in your program of study
  • have a social insurance number (SIN)

Not sure if you’re eligible for an off-campus work permit? You can use CIC’s online self-assessment tool to find out.

Who’s not eligible for off-campus work permits? 

You are not eligible for an off-campus work permit if you:

  • are a visiting or exchange student
  • previously held an off-campus work permit, lost your eligibility, and failed to surrender your work permit (however, if you become ineligible for the Work Permit Program and surrender your work permit, you may reapply for a work permit later if you meet the eligibility requirements again)
  • have failed to comply with the conditions of your study permit or your work permit
  • are participating in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
  • are participating in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
  • are receiving funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • are registered in an ESL or French-as-a-second-language program
How to apply for an off-campus work permit

You can apply for an off-campus work permit online or mail your application to the CIC processing centre in Alberta. You cannot get a work permit from the local CIC office.

To apply for a new off-campus work permit or apply to extend your current off-campus work permit, you must use MyCIC to get eligibility verification from UVic. To access MyCIC:

  1. Register for a Government of Canada epass (click on "Log in to MyCIC or register for a Government of Canada epass").
  2. After receiving an eligibility verification from UVic, you can submit your off-campus work permit application through MyCIC or by mailing the application to the CIC Case Processing Centre.
Limits to the work permit

With a work permit, you can work anywhere in Canada for a maximum of 20 hours per week during the regular academic year, and full-time during scheduled academic breaks. You must have a work permit before you start working. If your study permit expires, so will your work permit. You also need a social insurance number (SIN) to be paid for work.

An immigration officer may limit the type of work you can do. For example, you may have to pass an immigration medical examination before working in health care, childcare or education.

Volunteer work

Volunteer work

In some cases, you may be eligible to do volunteer work. However, not all types of volunteer work are open to international students. You should carefully read the volunteer work section of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website before you start any volunteer work.

Social insurance number (SIN)

Social insurance number (SIN)

You must have a social insurance number (SIN) to be paid for working in Canada. You must apply in person for your SIN at a Service Canada office.

When you’re hired at a new job, your employer must ask to see your SIN card. You must show your SIN card, or proof that you have applied for the card, within three days of your start date of employment.

Be very careful about who else you give this number to. You should never provide personal information like your SIN or your birth date to anyone, except for payroll and employee records. You should not include this information on your résumé, cover letter or any other documents you submit to your employer.

SIN for on-campus work

If you’re eligible to work on-campus only, you must apply for a SIN once you have a job offer on campus. To get your SIN, you’ll need to provide an official employment contract signed by you and your supervisor.

SIN for off-campus work

If you’re eligible to work off-campus, you must apply for a SIN once you have your off-campus work permit. You will need to provide your off-campus work permit when you apply for your SIN.

What jobs
can you do?

What kind of Canadian job are you looking for? Explore your job options below.

Part-time, full-time, casual or volunteer work

Part-time, full-time, casual or volunteer work  
  • You’ll find lots of full-time, part-time and casual job opportunities on our online job board (the board lists both on-campus and off-campus jobs)

Co-op jobs

Co-op jobs

Co-op students have access to a variety of co-op positions posted on our online co-op job board. Co-op work terms are usually four months long and begin in September, January and May. To work in a co-op job, you’ll need a co-op work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and a social insurance number (SIN)

Interested in joining the UVic Co-op Program? Learn more about co-op jobs in Canada!

Other job postings (through Working in Canada)

Other job postings (through Working in Canada)

This widget links you to information from the Government of Canada.

After
graduation

Want to stay and work in Canada after you finish your degree? Here are a few options.

Post-graduation work permit

Post-graduation work permit

A post-graduation work permit allows you to stay and work anywhere in Canada for up to three years (depending on the length of your academic program) and to work in any field.

To be eligible for a post-graduation work permit, you must:

  • hold a valid study permit
  • have studied full-time for the eight months preceding your graduation
  • apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation of your graduation from the university (for example, a transcript or an official letter)
  • have completed and passed your program of study and received a notification that you are eligible for your degree

You are not eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit if you:

  • are participating in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program or a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • are receiving funding from the Canadian International Development Agency and participating in a distance learning program
  • have previously been issued a post-graduation work permit after any other program of study
How to apply

To apply for a post-graduation work permit, you must mail your application to the CIC processing centre in Alberta. You cannot get the work permit from the local CIC office.

Limits to the post-graduation work permit
social insurance number (SIN)

Becoming a permanent resident of Canada

Becoming a permanent resident of Canada

Are you interested in becoming a permanent resident? These two programs can help you.

  • The BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) helps recruit skilled international workers to meet skill shortages faced by BC employers. If you’re a qualified skilled worker, it can speed up your immigration process for permanent residence in Canada. If you’re accepted, you can also work in Canada while your permanent resident visa application is being processed.  To apply, you need:
    • a degree, diploma or certificate from a specific field of study
    • a job offer from a BC employer
    • the support of your employer – you and your employer must fill out a joint application
  • The Canadian Experience Class program allows international students who graduate from a Canadian university or college to apply for permanent resident status from within Canada. To be eligible, you must have:
    • valid temporary resident status in Canada
    • completed a program of study with a minimum of two academic years
    • one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience completed in Canada after your graduation
    • moderate or basic language skills, depending on the job

Other
resources

 We've listed a ton of internal and external resources for international students below.

Co-op and Career resources

Co-op and Career resources

If you are a full-time international student and legally entitled to work on-campus or off-campus (or you’ll be looking for work in Canada after you finish your degree), Co-op and Career can provide you with the following services:

  • online career information and resources
  • individual coaching from career educators—drop in or make a longer appointment at your Co-op and Career office
  • online job postings for full-time, part-time and casual work on our online job board
  • computers you can use to research careers or search for a job
  • career resource library
  • job fairs, career workshops and other Co-op and Career events
  • Mentors Online – career advice and information from people working in a variety of jobs (available through the UVic Online Community)

If you’re a part-time student or you’re studying in a short-term program like an English Language Program, you are not permitted to work in Canada. However, Co-op and Career can provide you with:

  • online career information and resources
  • computers you can use to research careers
  • career resource library
  • job fairs, career workshops and other Co-op and Career events
  • Mentors Online – career advice and information from people working in a variety of jobs (available through the UVic Online Community)

Other UVic resources

Other UVic resources

External resources

External resources
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