Working in Canada

UVic Global Community Newsletter: February 07, 2022

In the Know: Advice for international students is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes valuable information and important dates for undergraduate and graduate international students in the following categories: degree-seekingincoming exchange, and incoming study abroad/visiting.

Can I work in Canada as an international student?

Working during your studies is a great way to gain Canadian experience, earn money, and connect with the community. However, it’s important to be aware of the specific requirements you must meet to legally work as an international student in Canada. Make sure you understand these requirements BEFORE starting any work experience in Canada, and never work without the proper authorization. Working in Canada when you are not authorized can negatively impact your current temporary resident status, as well as any future applications you make to enter or remain in Canada.

For general information on working in Canada as an international student, review the following resources from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

What are the conditions I need to meet in order to work with a study permit?

The requirements for working using the authorization provided by your study permit vary depending on whether your job is located on or off campus.

On-campus work

To work on campus as an international student, you must meet both of the following requirements:

  • You must hold a valid study permit
  • You must be enrolled full-time in the term when you wish to work. For UVic’s full-time definitions, see “How does UVic define full-time enrollment?” below.

For detailed information, visit the IRCC website.

There is no restriction to the number of on-campus hours you may work if you are eligible; however, we recommend limiting your hours so as not to detract from your studies.

Off-campus work

To work off campus during your studies, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must hold a valid study permit
  • You must be enrolled in a program of 6 months or more in length that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • You must be enrolled full-time*. For details, see “How does UVic define full-time enrollment?” below.

*Exceptions to the full-time requirement include:

  • Your final term of studies: if you are enrolled part time in your final term (i.e. you only need a part-time course load to complete your UVic program), and you were enrolled full-time in all other regular academic terms throughout your program, you may still be eligible to work off campus.
  • Scheduled breaks: if your program includes scheduled breaks, you may work during the break if you are enrolled full-time immediately before and immediately after the break.

If you are eligible to work off campus, you can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during academic terms. You can work full-time (unlimited hours) during scheduled breaks, if your program includes scheduled breaks and you meet the criteria above.

For detailed information about off-campus work requirements, visit the IRCC website.

How does UVic define full-time enrollment?

If you are an undergraduate student, refer to the UVic Undergraduate calendar.

If you are a graduate student, refer to the UVic Graduate Calendar.

Note: If you are registered with the UVic Centre for Accessible Learning, consult with your CAL adviser to confirm the full-time definition based on your academic accommodations. The definition of full-time enrollment used for scholarships, bursaries, student loans, and external providers may differ from the full-time definitions in the UVic Calendar.

My program requires a co-op/internship to graduate. Do I need a co-op work permit?

Yes. According to IRCC, you should apply for a co-op work permit if your UVic program has a co-op or internship component.

Make sure you apply for a co-op work permit as soon as you’ve been accepted into a co-op program, so that you have plenty of time to receive it before you need to start working.

Your co-op work permit can only be used to complete work terms that are an integral component of your program at UVic. It cannot be used for other work that does not form part of your UVic program.

What is a Social Insurance Number, and how can I get one? 

Social Insurance Number (SIN) allows you to be paid for work and to access certain government programs. A SIN alone does not make you eligible to work – you must still meet the eligibility criteria noted above – however, you will need one for your employer in Canada to pay you.

For detailed instructions on how to apply for a SIN, refer to the Service Canada website.

To apply for a SIN, you must have a valid passport and one of the following documents issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

  • valid work permit
  • valid study permit that states you are authorized to work in Canada
  • valid visitor record that states you are authorized to work in Canada

Additional documents may also be required, depending on how you apply. Visit the Service Canada website for a full list of documents.

If your study permit or visitor record does not state that you "may accept employment" or "may work", consult with an International Student Adviser to discuss the process for amending or changing the conditions on your document.

Who can help me find a job in Canada?

To find a job, you need a résumé and cover letter that will impress Canadian employers. You also need to be able to communicate your knowledge, skills, and experience during job interviews.

Visit the Co-op & Career website to:

UVic Career Services is an amazing resource available to all UVic students and alumni, offering services such as career drop-ins and appointments, free career workshops, and self-paced online career programs.

If you can't find the answers you are looking for, please contact the appropriate office.

Where can I find more information about working in Canada as an international student?

More information is available on our website.

If you can't find the answers you are looking for, please email us at or call +1-250-721-6361 during weekdays between 9:00am and 4:30pm (Pacific Time).

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