How to Find a Rewarding Job as an International Student in Canada?

Canada is one of the most attractive study destinations in the world. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), over 500,000 international students enrolled at a Canadian university in 2020 alone.

And while “The Land of Maple Syrup” is excellent for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, you should also know that it is a perfect choice for people who want to settle down and start working after graduation (or during studies).

But what are the steps involved in finding a job as an international student in Canada? How difficult is it, really, and what should you keep in mind?

Find Masters in Canada

Before diving right in, here are a few universities that can give you a degree which can help you find a rewarding job in Canada:

Know the Canadian work regulations for international students

Just like any other country, Canada has specific work regulations for international students who want to work during or after their studies. Let’s take a quick look at the most important ones:

Work regulations for on-campus work

  • You can work on campus only after the start of your studies
  • You can work on campus only if your study permit includes a condition that says you can work on or off campus

Good to know: If your study permit doesn’t mention that you can work on or off campus, you can ask for this change to be made (free of cost).

You don’t need a work permit to work on campus as long as you meet these conditions:

Learn more about working on campus in Canada and who can’t work on campus.

Work regulations for off-campus work

  • You can work off campus only after the start of your studies
  • You can work off campus without a work permit only if both you and the employer ensure that this is possible before you take the job. If you start working without meeting the requirements, you could be asked to leave the country!
  • You can work on campus only if your study permit includes a condition that says you can work on or off campus

You don’t need a work permit to work off campus as long as you meet these conditions:

  • You are a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI); if your university isn’t a DLI, you won’t be able to work.
  • You are enrolled in a post-secondary academic/vocational program or a professional training
  • Your studies last a minimum of 6 months, and you’ll graduate with a degree, diploma, or a certificate
  • You have a valid study permit
  • You have a Social Insurance Number

During the academic or school terms, you can only work for 20 hours per week. You have more freedom during schedule breaks — e.g. the winter or summer holidays — when you can work full-time, overtime or take 2 part-time jobs.

Learn more about working off campus in Canada and who can’t work off campus.

Work regulations for work after graduation

You might be able to work full-time after graduation in Canada. These are the two main scenarios in which this is possible:

  • BEFORE your study permit expires, you apply for a work permit or a post-graduation work permit (PGWP)
  • You enrol in a new study program at a DLI; if your university isn’t a designated learning institution, you won’t be able to work

Conditions to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP):

  • You need to graduate from a DLI in order to apply for the PGWP
  • Graduating from a DLI makes you eligible but doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive the PGWP
  • You need to apply for the PGWP within 180 days (approximately 6 months) after graduating from university/after receiving your final grades or marks
  • The study program you finish must last for at least 8 months
  • You can’t apply for a second PGWP if you’ve already received one after completing a previous study program
  • You need to pay the application fee of 255 CAD

It takes around 53 days for the PGWP to be issued. Depending on the duration of your academic program, the PGWP can be valid for anywhere between 9 months to 3 years.

Learn more about the post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

Decide where you want to work in Canada

After getting familiar with the Canadian work regulations and ensuring you meet all the criteria, it’s then time to decide where/for who you want to work. For example, if you want an on-campus job during your studies, options are more limited:

  • work at a library
  • work at a hospital
  • work at a research facility
  • work as an assistant for a professor

You might be able to also work like this off-campus as long as the facility or client is a partner of the university where you study.

The Canadian government is a top student employer and offers attractive job options to local and international students:

Keep in mind these programs are first looking at Canadian students who meet the job criteria. This means you can still be selected, but local students have an advantage.

Check out other specialised student recruitment programs.

Visit job websites and start applying

There’s not much to say about this step. It can be tiresome, time-consuming, boring, or even frustrating at times, but going through job listings is necessary. And most of them are luckily available online.

For on-campus jobs, announcements might be available in the university halls or specially designated areas. But we’ll focus on the resources available online. Here are a few examples:

And the list could go on, but these websites should be enough to get you started.

Find Masters in Canada

How to increase your chances of landing a job in Canada

  • Get involved in student associations and organisations
  • Participate in volunteering programs and activities
  • Join internships, seminars, competitions or workshops related to your interests
  • Start networking: meet like-minded people and get to know each other
  • Stay open-minded: seemingly unrelated job roles can be perfect for you as long as they overlap with the things you want to learn or problems you want to solve

Explore more than 70000 Master's programmes from all around the world with Studyportals.

All disciplines
Canada

Wishlist

Hey there 👋🏼

We are Studyportals, the #1 education platform to find your best matching studies for free.

What are you interested in studying?

Go to your profile page to get personalised recommendations!