Overview

Note: The Off-Campus Work Permit Program (OCWPP) was terminated on June 1st, 2014, due to regulatory changes to Canada’s International Student Program. However, International students with a pre-existing Off-Campus Work Permit may continue working, as per the terms of their OCWP.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada demands foreign students to have enough money for their living expenses while pursuing their academic goals in Canada. Having said that, these international students also had the option of opting for work while they study in Canada, before OCWPP was terminated.

Students were allowed to work off-campus without having to get a work permit. Study permits let foreign students up to 20 hours of off-campus work per week during their respective academic term, and also allowed full-time employment during their academic breaks.

Foreign students who were enrolled in a full-time academic, professional or vocational training program with a designated educational institution in Canada were eligible for the following:

  • to work for an off-campus employer without a work permit
  • to work for an off-campus employer in Canada for up to 20 hours per week during the regular academic school session and full-time during scheduled academic breaks
  • Could opt for off-campus work immediately upon qualifying for a study permit in Canada, instead of waiting for a six month period according to previous requirements

Note: Foreign nationals studying in Canada are advised to remain registered at a designated educational institution, and must obtain a Social Insurance Number from the Government of Canada (Service Canada).

If you hold a pre-existing Canada study permit and OCWP as of June 1st, 2014 – you may continue to work as per the conditions stated in your OCWP, or as per the new regulation (i.e. 20hrs/week during regular academic session and full-time during academic breaks).

If you have applied for a Canada study permit after June 1, 2014 – the new requirements related to your eligibility to work off-campus will be clearly mentioned on your study permit.

In either of the aforementioned scenarios, students should continue to meet the requirements of their study permit in order to qualify for off-campus work eligibility in Canada.

Note: Students participating in English or French as a second language classes (ESL/FSL), or in general interest courses, are not eligible to work during studies without having a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment.

It is solely the student’s responsibility to confirm his or her eligibility to work off-campus without having a work permit, prior to employment commencement. If not appropriately done, it can result in immediate prosecution and fines for both, the employee and employer.

Changes to Co-Op and Intern Work Permits: Co-Op and intern Work Permits are only be available to those foreign students whose study program incorporates a co-op placement or internship employment at a secondary school or other educational institution designated by a provincial or territorial government. Either of these two programs related to employment cannot constitute more than 50% of the total program of study in Canada.

Implied Status w.r.t. Post-Graduation Work Permit: 
Once a student completes his or her study program, those who have applied for a Post-Graduation Work Permit are allowed to maintain full-time employment while awaiting a decision on their application.

Spouses of International Students: The spouse, or common-law partner, of a foreign student may be eligible to apply for a study permit in Canada or an open work permit. However, it is imperative to note that the open work permit will be valid for the same duration as his or her spouse’s study permit.

Study Permit