International students may be permitted to work in Canada while studying, depending on their registration status and where the employment is located. If you are eligible to work, Canada's immigration regulations permit three types of employment for international students:

Work on Campus

International students with valid study permits who are enrolled full-time are permitted to work, without a work permit, at any employment facility located within the boundary of the University of Alberta's North campus, and at other Edmonton U of A campuses, including Enterprise Square, Campus Saint-Jean, and South Campus.

Please note: If you work as a teaching or research assistant, and your work is strictly related to a research grant, you can work on or off campus at a library, hospital, or research facility associated with the University of Alberta. 

ESL, Exchange and visiting students may work on campus if they hold a valid study permit and are registered full-time. They must apply for study permits from outside of Canada and have the required work conditions on their study permit.

After you arrive on campus, find out how to apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Work off Campus

You do not need a work permit to work off-campus. You must have a valid study permit AND be enrolled full-time in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate (ESL/ELP programs are not eligible). 

Exchange and visiting students may work off campus if they hold a valid study permit and are registered full-time. They must apply for study permits from outside of Canada and have the required work conditions in their study permit. 

You will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work off campus. Find out how to apply for a Social Insurance Number.

If you currently have a valid off-campus work permit, you may continue to work off-campus under your existing permit.

You can:

  • work off-campus up to 20 hours per week during regular terms (fall and winter) and full time during regular school breaks (spring and summer) ONLY if you are NOT registered full time during scheduled breaks 
  • work full time if you completed your program of study and applied for a post-graduation work permit before your study permit expires. 

If you have completed your program of study, and have not applied for a post-graduate work permit, you are not authorized to continue working off-campus beyond your program completion date. 

Co-op students

Students studying in a program that requires a co-op, or internship placement as part of their curriculum, must apply for a Co-op Work Permit. Co-op Work Permits are for co-op or internship placement only. Visit the International Services Centre to speak with an International Student Advisor, for information on how to apply.  

ELP, Open Studies, and Special Students - you are not eligible to work off campus because your program of study does not meet the eligibility requirements for working off campus and will not lead to a degree.

You are eligible to work on campus providing you are in full-time studies (9 credits or more) and have a valid study permit.

Graduate students' work requirements

All University of Alberta graduate students on a Study Permit are eligible to work up to 40 hours per week on campus and up to 20 hours a week off campus.  

Thesis-based graduate students are permitted to work 20 hours per week off campus year-round.

Course-based graduate students are allowed to work 20 hours a week off campus during academic sessions and full-time during academic breaks. 

International students, on professional experience leave, are not allowed to work on or off campus in Canada. International students on authorized leaves are not registered in full-time courses and therefore do not meet study permit work conditions.  Authorized leaves may have a negative impact on future post-graduation work-permit applications and could be interpreted as not “studying continuously”. Students must provide leave documentation when submitting an application for a post-graduation work permit.

Visit the International Services Centre for more information on working on or off campus.   

Work after Graduation

To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

A work permit under the PGWPP may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A post-graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months. 

For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you may be eligible for a three-year work permit so long as you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you are eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months. You are not eligible to apply for a PGWP if you did not study continuously for more than eight months -- this includes students that took a semester off.

Learn more on Pathways to Permanent Residency

How to apply

Within 180 days of completing your studies, you must submit an application to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and have a valid study permit or valid visitor status in Canada. Students are also eligible to apply for the PGWP outside of Canada whether or not their study permit is valid, as long as this is done within 180 days from receiving formal notification of completion. The application must contain proof that you completed your program of study in the form of an official transcript and a letter from the University, confirming your completion. 

The 180 day period begins on the date of your final transcript or letter from the University that acknowledges program completion.

Visit the IRCC website for more information