How Many Hours an International Student Can Work in Canada?

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How Many Hours an International Student Can Work in Canada?

There is a 20-hour work limit when it comes to working in Canada for international students. Students will get deported if they work for more than the stipulated time period. There goes the answer. But is it that simple? Well, there are certain factors which have to be considered.

The laws in Canada are very particular when it comes to the work limit of international students. The labor laws are a bit stringent for them, but it is the law of the land that has to be followed. The 20-hour work limit was taken off during the Covid 19 pandemic. But it was a temporary take-off.

1. Factors to Be Considered to Work in Canada as an International Student

The first and foremost factor to be acknowledged is that you cannot work before your studies have started in Canada. You have to receive your work permit and abide by the conditions prescribed in the study permit. If you are eligible for off-campus work, you will not be required to have a work permit separately.

To work without a work permit, you must be eligible for the following requirements mentioned;

  • According to the law of the land, you should be a full-time student in a  designated learning institution (DLI).
  • You should be enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or it should be a secondary-level vocational training program.
  • The main criteria are that the study must be at least six months long, leading to a degree, certificate or diploma.
  • The whole time student should have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

To get the Social Insurance Number (SIN), you should be working in Canada. You have to work 20 hours per week to get the SIN. It is according to the provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Another interesting fact is that you cannot work off-campus if you are during a switching school period or you are on authorized leaves. This might sound like a bummer, but you can only work when you are back to studying.

But anyhow, during the scheduled breaks like the summer or winter holidays, You’re free to work overtime or work 2 part-time jobs that add up to a higher than the usual number of hours. But the catch here is you have to be a full-time student after and before the work period. You cannot work before your first semester starts.

If you end up working more than 20 hours, then it is going to be a nightmare with these strict laws. You can lose your student status, and you will also be deported to your own country. So it is important to abide by these working hour time periods.

2. Situations When You Cannot Work Off-Campus

There are some study permits that specifically make students not work off-campus while they study. The school will mention it explicitly in the study permits. So in that case, you cannot work while studying.

  • If you are enrolled in English or French as a second language, you cannot work without a job off-campus.
  • If you are taking only general interest programs.
  • If you’re only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program, you cannot work off-campus.

But it is not the end of the world. You can yet work in Canada if any of the following situations have arisen for you. But on one condition, you have to apply for a work permit.


Well, we looked into the number of hours an international student can work in Canada, and most importantly, we looked into the important factors which have to be remembered if you are planning to work off-campus.

If you have completed your study program and are planning to go to work, you have to apply for a work permit before you complete your studies in the institution. You might also apply for a new study program; then, you have to apply for a  post-graduation work permit (PGWP). You can start working if your new study program starts within 150 calendar days of receiving the confirmation that you have completed the program.

So overall, it is important to remember that you can only work for 20 hours per week as an international student in Canada. There are a lot of instances where students have been deported because they were working more hours than in the study permit. So it is better to stick to the laws of the land.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.

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