International students with a Canadian student visa, who enrolled in the Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) full-time, are permitted to work up to 20-hours per week during regular academic sessions and work full-time during off term and scheduled breaks.

Most students in Canada don’t require a work permit to find a job and work while they study, whether their job is on-campus or off-campus. Most often, your student visa will state whether you’re allowed to work off-campus and if there are any conditions attached.

If your program of study includes work experience, you may be permitted to work more than 20 hours within the academic semester. This will be explicitly noted in your letter of acceptance. If you are eligible for this condition, note that the government will grant you both a work permit and a study permit.

This work permit permits you to work on-campus only. However, international students with a study permit, who enrolled in the Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) full-time, are permitted to work off-campus without a work permit.

With a student visa in Canada, you can work for yourself even if you established this business off-campus. You will still be expected to keep track of the hours you work off-campus and show that you’re adhering to all the conditions of your study permit.

International students in a general interest program of study or are undertaking a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to their enrollment at a DLI are not permitted to work off-campus. Note that even if you plan to work while studying in Canada, you will still be expected to show that you have adequate funds to support yourself without working.

Potential future earnings cannot be used to meet your Canadian student visa financial qualifications, so your plan to find a job while studying in Canada will not in any way help to prove your financial capacity before you get into the country.

What are the Limitations of Canadian Student Visa Work Hours?

Working more than 20 hours per week is a violation of your study permit conditions. It can land you in serious issues, like losing your student status, not getting your study or work permit applications approved in the future, and you can even get deported.

Most often, your study permit will note whether you are permitted to work in Canada and the conditions you are expected to meet. You will also need this study permit to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada; a requirement before you can start working while studying in Canada.

If you can’t find this record on your study permit, then you must apply for a SIN; you can get your study permit revised for free. All these can be done after your arrival, but it is recommended you do them immediately after your study permit is first issued.

Once you get to Canada’s Immigration office, you can ask the intended officer about your permission to work if you are not sure of the information on your study permit. Also, remember you won’t be permitted to work in Canada if your study program is less than six months or you are registered in French as a Second Language (FSL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

Additionally, have it in mind that visiting students or exchange students at a DLI are not allowed to work while studying in this country. Also, don’t forget that you cannot start working while studying in Canada until you have started your study program.

This is one of the most notable working limits in Canada to take into consideration. To be deemed eligible to work off-campus without a work permit, you are expected to hold full-time status during the academic session before and after an off-term or regularly scheduled break.

If your academic institution goes on back-to-back scheduled breaks, creating a break period of much more than 150 consecutive days, you are only permitted to work off-campus within the first 150 consecutive days. It is against the law to work for the entire break especially if the break period is more than 150 consecutive days.

When you consider all regularly scheduled breaks, have it in mind that students may only be permitted to work off-campus on a full-time basis for a total of 180 days during each calendar year. And while international students don’t always need a separate work permit to find a job and work while studying in Canada, there may be a very vital exception.

In Canada, there are study programs that mandate the student to complete a Co-op or internship work placement as an academic requirement before they can graduate. International students who are in such programs are expected to obtain a Co-op work permit coupled with their study permit.

Have in mind that this work permit is essential before you can begin your co-op, internship, or field placement. Unlike a study permit, you are allowed to work full-time with this permit while you accumulate credit for your program.

It also remains valid all through the duration of your study permit and you also get the opportunity to renew or extend the permit. Nevertheless, it is recommended you apply for the co-op work permit at the same time as your study permit. The cost of application is free as long as you apply for your study permit.

Who Regulates Student Visa Work Hours in Canada?

Just as with everything relating to immigration, the IRCC regulates student visas and all visa-related work hours. Formerly known as CIC, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada processes the arrival of immigrants, offers protection to refugees, and also establishes programming to help newcomers enjoy living in Canada. You can also find their offices in Canadian embassies, high commissions, and consulates and process applications for:

  • Permanent residency
  • Visitor visas (TRVs)
  • Study permits
  • Work permits
  • Refugee resettlement
  • Travel documents for permanent residents abroad.


Truth be told, aside from the possibility of earning extra cash, it can be quite beneficial to work while studying in Canada. This additional work experience can make you stand out from the crowd during your job hunt after you must have graduated. When you intend to stay in Canada or work elsewhere after you graduate, have in mind that Canadian work experience is an added advantage to your CV.