If you are a full-time international student in Canada, you are eligible to work part-time while you study. In the third installment of the #StudentLife series, we discuss work permit options for international students, family benefits and employment opportunities after graduation.


Did you know?  As a full-time international student in Canada, you can work up to 20 hours a week while you study.  This allows students to finance their schooling and daily life while gaining valuable Canadian work experience.  Depending on your academic and career goals, choosing to work on or off-campus presents different opportunities for employment.


With campus life being an essential part of students’ day-to-day routine, working on-campus can help you get acquainted with school services and campus-run initiatives.  While many jobs are offered, most on-campus work is campus-community driven (such as tour guides for new students and information booths) or administrative jobs for one of the various student services departments. Generally, these include bookkeeping, receptionist, peer programs and clerical assistant work.  Being on-campus jobs, the hours worked are often flexible for students since they can easily be accommodated into their schedules.

However, working on-campus allows you to contribute to your academic-related work experience.  For example, on-campus jobs can include laboratory technician work, research assistant or even teaching assistants.  These jobs allow you to work directly with your professors, in a mentor/pupil relationship.  Depending on your field of study, having access to these opportunities can provide essential work experience and resources for the future.  As such, choosing to study on-campus can be a good option for you if you are looking to gain practical skills relating to your field of study.


If you decide to work in Canada after or during your studies, knowing what employment options the Canadian job market offers can be important for career choices after graduation.  To help you narrow down your search, school services often have a list of jobs that are geared towards students, with the focus being part-time employment.  Therefore, it is not a bad idea to start looking for a job at your academic institution, since many services are specifically tailored to help students find work.

While on-campus jobs generally focus on academic or campus services, off-campus work affords more freedom when choosing a job.  Therefore, off-campus work can be helpful if you are looking to gain experience outside of your field of study.  Although many jobs exist, students generally lean towards banking, food service, retail, and hospitality, due to flexible schedules that accommodate coursework.  However, during the longer breaks in the summer where full-time work is possible, students can apply for internships which are more closely related to their field of study.


Choosing to study in Canada opens many opportunities post-graduation.  Even after you have finished your studies, you can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), which allows you to continue working after you graduate.  Since this is an open work permit, you are not required to have a job offer and it is not tied to a specific employer.  As such, this allows you to work in almost any field in Canada.

Having this permit provides invaluable work experience by granting you access to the Canadian job market.  This can open up many career opportunities no matter where you choose to reside in the future.  However, having this skilled work experience can significantly increase your chances of permanently immigrating to Canada.  Being a Canadian permanent resident, you have access to many benefits, such as a world-class universal healthcare system, an internationally competitive job market, high standards of living and great schooling options.


Oftentimes, studying abroad can be a difficult choice for some individuals with families.  Choosing to leave behind a dependent child and spouse in order to pursue education might not be possible.  However, one benefit of studying in Canada is the option of bringing your family with you.  This takes away the stress of having to leave your loved ones behind and venturing off to a new country.

It should also be mentioned, if you are married or in a common-law relationship, your spouse is eligible for an open work permit.  This makes their stay here worthwhile, allowing them to work freely in Canada and gain valuable work experience.  Similar to the Post-Graduate Work Permit, having your spouse work in Canada can boost their chances of permanently immigrating here.  Also, if you have a dependent child, they have the option of studying in Canadian primary and secondary schools without the need for a study permit.

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