Can I study with a work permit in Canada?

By Remitbee - Jun 7, 2022


Canada is known for being a welcoming and diverse country, and that diversity is reflected in its student population. Thousands of students worldwide come to Canada each year to pursue their studies!

And if you're a foreign national working in Canada, you might be wondering if you, too, can study at one of the country's educational institutions while on a work permit.

Sadly, having a work permit does not allow you to study in Canada. If you want to pursue education in Canada, you need a study permit. But if you are already in Canada with an open work permit, you can apply for a study permit before your work permit application expires!

Usually, you can't have both a study and a work permit unless you are under International Experience Canada (IEC). You can apply for IEC only if you receive an invitation to apply. However, IEC is not intended for foreign nationals who plan to study in Canada for more than six months. Therefore, if you plan to study for more than six months, you must apply for a study permit.

Much Better Alternative For a Work Permit

If you are not in Canada yet and you plan to study and at the same time work when you get there, it is much better to apply for a study permit. Because even without a work permit, most international students in Canada are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during approved breaks.

A study permit is required for international students who plan to study in Canada for more than six months. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issue study permits and application forms accessible online or on paper.

You can also work on-campus or off-campus. Working on campus can imply working for the university or college itself, a faculty member (as a research assistant, for example), yourself (self-employed, working on campus), a student organization, or a private company offering services on campus, such as a gym or restaurant.

On the other hand, working off-campus means working for any company not affiliated with the institution or college you are enrolled in.

Eligibility and Conditions of a Study Permit

You must prove enough financial support when applying for a study permit, even if you intend to work while studying in Canada. That means you need to prove to the immigration officer that you have enough money to sustain yourself while studying without working.

Foreseeable future income will not be enough to prove sufficient financial resources, so your plan of working while studying in Canada will not prove you can support yourself before arrival.

Your study permit will determine whether you are allowed to work in Canada and the terms of your employment. This remark will enable you to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada; gaining a SIN is a necessary step before you can start working while studying in Canada.

If somehow the statement necessary to apply for a SIN is missing from your study permit, you can have it amended for free. Although you could do this after you arrive, it is much more convenient to do so when you first arrive, when your study permit is granted. If you are not sure about something on your study permit, you can ask the officer at Immigration whether you are allowed to work.

You cannot work in Canada unless you have been granted permission if your study program is less than six months long or enrolled in an (FSL) French as a Second Language or (ESL) English as a Second Language program. Additionally, those visiting or exchange students at a DLI in Canada are not permitted to work. Moreover, keep in mind that you can't begin working until your program begins.

What happens after you finish your study?

You may need to quit working in Canada right after you finish your studies. However, there are numerous options for continuing to work under varied circumstances. For instance, you might be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

After graduation, you can work for any employer in Canada for up to three years if you have a PGWP. If you meet the conditions and want to continue working in Canada, you must apply within 180 days of obtaining written confirmation that your study program is complete.

But if you're entering a new study program like pursuing a Master's degree after completing a Bachelor's, you can work between the courses given the following conditions:

  • You were permitted to work off-campus during your last study program.
  • Have a valid study permit or have requested an extension before it expires.
  • Have received written certification of your program completion.
  • Have received an admission notice to a new full-time study program at a DLI.
  • You will begin your new study program within 150 days of obtaining confirmation that your previous program has been finished.

Suppose you do not apply for the PGWP but later decide to return to work. In that case, you may be able to qualify for one or more of the International Experience Canada (IEC) classifications. IEC allows young individuals from other countries to work in Canada for two years, based on their category and citizenship country.

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