Students work in Canada for Ghana students
Students work in Canada for Ghana students
Students work in Canada for Ghana students
Students work in Canada for Ghana students

Working in Canada during your studies

As an international student, you can work in Canada on- or off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during term time (and full-time during semester breaks) without the need for a work permit, as long as you meet the following criteria:

  • You have a valid study permit
  • You’re a full-time student
  • You’re enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level
  • You’re studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program which is at least six months in duration and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate

You must stop working as soon as you no longer meet any of these requirements, for example if you stop being a full-time student.

Working as a co-op student or intern

You’ll need a work permit as well as a study permit if you’re studying an academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution that involves work experience such as a co-op program or internship.

To apply for this work permit, you’ll need to prove that your work experience is crucial for completing your program (this proof could be in the form of a letter from your university or a copy of the curriculum).

The work experience cannot take up more than 50% of your total study program. You’re not eligible to apply for the co-op work permit if you’re studying English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL), or taking part in general interest or preparatory courses.

Working in Canada after graduating

Post-graduation work in Canada: if you want to stay in Canada once your studies have finished, you’ll need to apply for a post-graduation work permit, allowing you to stay for up to three years after graduation. The country is reporting high demand for skilled graduates across a diverse range of sectors, including engineering, finance, graphic design, human resources, information technology, healthcare and natural sciences.

Your Canadian study permit will expire 90 days after graduation, so if you’d like to stay and seek work in Canada after graduating, you’ll need to apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) within this time. This allows you to gain post-graduation work experience that can help you qualify for permanent residence through Express Entry. You can apply for this if you studied continuously full-time for at least eight months.

If you’ve studied in Canada for more than eight months but less than two years, your work permit will be valid for the same length of time as your studies. If you studied for two years or more, your work permit will be valid for three years.

The other eligibility requirements of the PGWPP are:

  • You must be 18 or over
  • You must have a valid study permit before applying
  • You must have completed and passed your study program and have a written confirmation, such as a transcript, that proves you’re eligible to be awarded your degree, diploma or certificate
  • You graduated from a public or private post-secondary institution

To apply for the post-graduation work permit, you should first read the guide and documents checklist. You can apply online or via mail, answering all the questions carefully and truthfully and paying the application fees. Your passport must be valid for longer than the duration of the work permit you are applying for.

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