International students hoping to finance their studies with part-time work have two options: Find a job on campus, or apply for an off-campus work permit.
Students are not eligible for the permit until they have completed six months of full-time studies and are in good academic standing, “meaning they are coping with their course loads,” says Cheryl Gonsalves, an international student advisor with the University of Toronto.
The intent, she says, is to prepare students for culture shock — settling into a new education and social system.
However, international students who successfully register for more than six months of full-time Canadian study receive a study permit, which allows them to work on campus.
“It is felt that within your own environment it’s a lot easier to take some work on,” Gonsalves says.
Most campuses have a career centre which can assist international students with their job search, help them write up a resume and look for job postings, she says.
“It’s a great opportunity,” says Michelle Suderman, associate director of international student development at the University of British Columbia.
Suderman notes that “on-campus” includes stores and restaurants on campus grounds, or research facilities and institutes affiliated with the school, such as hospitals.
Applying for a permit
The application process for an off-campus work permit is the same across the country.
Qualified students can visit cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/off-campus.asp, register with the government’s “MyCIC” service, and apply online.
Even with a work permit, students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week during the school year, to avoid compromising their studies.
However, it’s ideal for students who remain in Canada during the summer, when they may work full time (40 hours per week).
Once registered, students may work anywhere in Canada.