Work in Canada
There are many options available to you once you have completed your studies in Canada. You may choose to:
Return to your home country armed with a globally recognized degree or diploma and invaluable international work experience.
Continue your studies in Canada for advanced credentials.
Gain additional work experience in Canada.
Stay in Canada after graduation
Gaining valuable work experience in Canada after graduation can go a long way towards helping you permanently immigrate here. The following programs can help facilitate this process for eligible candidates:
Post-graduation work permit
The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWPP) allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience gained through the PGWPP helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class.
Learn more about the Post-Graduation Work Permit at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website.
Canadian Experience Class
After you have lived in Canada for some time, you may have good English or French skills, the right kind of skilled work experience, and be used to Canadian society. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) was created to help people like this take part in the Canadian economy.
Learn more about the Canadian Experience Class at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website.
Provincial Nominee Program
Almost all of Canada’s provinces and territories can nominate people to immigrate to Canada. These people have the skills, education and work experience they need to contribute to the economy of that province or territory.
Learn more about the Provincial Nominee Program at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website.
Working in Canada
Under certain conditions, you may be able to work in Canada. Students who do not have a study permit are not eligible.
If you hold a study permit, you can work on campus for the institution you are attending if it is publicly funded and grants degrees. No separate work permit is required. The employer can be the educational institution, the faculty, a student organization, a private business or a private contractor who is providing services to the campus. You can also work as a graduate, research or teaching assistant at an off-campus site that has a formal affiliation with the institution, such as a teaching hospital, clinic or research institute.
Full-time students may also be eligible to work off-campus for any employer. These permits usually allow up to 20 hours per week during the term, and full-time during holidays.
The following students are ineligible for off-campus work:
visiting or exchange student
Students participating in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program or in the Government of Canada Awards Program
students participating in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, the Canada-Chile or the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program or the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
students enrolled in English as a second language or French as a second language programs
students receiving funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
students who have previously held an off-campus work permit and failed to maintain their eligibility or to comply with the conditions of their work or study permit
full-time secondary (high school) students
Some university programs require work experience. International students who want to enrol in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit in addition to their study permit. If you would like to work in Canada after graduating, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-graduation Work Permit Program.
If you would like to stay in Canada as a permanent resident after graduating, there are a number of programs available, each with its own requirements.
If you are enrolled full time in a publicly funded post-secondary institution and you have a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner (person with whom you have been living in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months) can apply for an open work permit, which means that neither an offer of employment nor a Service Canada labour market option is required. Your spouse/common-law partner’s work permit will be valid for as long as your study permit is valid.
More information on working in Canada is available at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship website.
Before deciding to seek employment during your studies, carefully consider the following:
Do not expect to finance your studies in Canada through a part-time job. This may be unrealistic, and it is wise to secure savings or other sources of financing in advance in case of difficulties.
You may not be able to find suitable employment, or your studies and other activities may not leave you much time for a job.
If you do look for a job, be realistic about how much time you can commit to it and consider which jobs match your skills and experience. In general, undergraduate courses require at least two hours of personal work time for every hour of class time.
Take time to learn about the Canadian labour market, government legislation and your rights at work.
Workers’ rights and benefits
Federal and provincial laws protect workers and employers by setting minimum wage levels, health and safety standards, and hours of work. They provide for maternity leave, and annual paid vacation. There are laws to protect workers from discrimination, including protection against unfair treatment by employers based on race, religion, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability.
Workers in Canada must be paid at least the minimum wage as stated by the provincial government. Your employer will legally deduct money from your paycheque for income tax, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and, where applicable, taxable benefits and union dues.
Job Bank - Workers
Employment and Social Development Canada
Working in Canada
Inquire about employment opportunities in your area at your institution’s career centre, your local municipal government, newspapers, and online job banks.
Prepare your résumé in a Canadian format.
The following websites also provide job listings
Services for Youth
Post-graduation work program
The post-graduation work program enables graduating students to gain Canadian work experience in their fields of study for up to three years after graduation. The work permit is valid for only the length of time the student studied in Canada. For example, students graduating from an eight-month certificate program would be eligible for a work permit of eight months.
To be eligible, you must have:
graduated from a Canadian public post-secondary institution; some private institutions also qualify
studied full-time for at least eight months preceding the completion of your program of study
applied for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that all completion requirements for your academic program are met, e.g. transcript, official letter from the institution, etc.
a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit
You are not eligible for a post-graduation work permit if any of the following are applicable:
You graduated from a program of less than eight months in duration.
You were previously issued a post-graduation work permit following any other program of study.
You graduated from a distance-learning program.
You hold a Commonwealth Scholarship or other scholarship funded by the Government of Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Every year, over 94,000 foreign workers enter Canada to temporarily alleviate skills shortages. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) ensure that these workers will support economic growth in Canada. In most cases, you must have a valid work permit to work in Canada.
These steps must be followed before you apply for a work permit:
An employer must first offer you a job.
ESDC must normally provide a labour market opinion or “confirmation” of your job offer.
After ESDC confirms that a foreign national may fill the job, you apply to IRCC for your work permit.
In special circumstances, you may be able to work in Canada without a work permit, e.g. foreign government representatives, military personnel, on-campus employment, news reporters, judges, clergy, etc. For a full list of jobs exempt from work permits, visit the IRCC website.
To become a permanent resident based on your work skills or experience, you must apply under a category such as the Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class or the Provincial Nominee Program.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Work in Canada
Immigration to Canada
Every year, Canada welcomes thousands of new residents. Coming to Canada as an immigrant is an exciting opportunity, but also a great challenge. There are a number of options to apply for permanent resident status. Some examples:
Skilled workers and professionals: For people who want to settle and work in Canada (outside of Quebec). Quebec-selected skilled workers: For people selected by the Quebec government to settle and work in Quebec.
Skilled trades: For people who want to immigrate based on being qualified in a skilled trade.
Canadian Experience Class: For people who have recent Canadian work experience or have graduated and recently worked in Canada.
Investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed people: For people who want to start a business in Canada.
Provincial nominees: One of Canada’s provinces or territories can nominate you to settle and work there.
Sponsoring your family: Sponsor a family member to join you here if you are a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada - Immigrate to Canada