As a student, you are probably trying to find a way to make some extra cash to use for your day-to-day expenses, hence your decision to work while studying in Canada. Fortunately, this is one of the advantages of studying in Canada.
International students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week and full-time during the holidays, and all these without a work permit. Basically, the work climate is favourable to international students in terms of policies pertaining to whether or not they can work while studying, as well as the duration of hours they can work.
This article seeks to explain what it entails to work while studying in Canada. Here are things you should know:
A. Eligibility to Work in Canada While Working
If you are registered in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada as an international student and you have a study permit, you are eligible to work without a study permit for an employee on-campus or off-campus.
What it means to work on-campus:
If you work for an employer on-campus, it means that you work for the institution itself, for a member of the faculty, for yourself, for a student organization, or for a service provider on campus.
Generally, you work on-campus if your employer is within the school campus or you are self-employed and you are offering your services on the school campus.
What it means to work off-campus:
If you work for an employer off-campus, it simply means that your employer offers services outside the institution.
You can only begin working in Canada, as an international student, when you officially begin your study program. However, you are not eligible to work while studying in Canada, unless authorized otherwise, if:
- The duration of your study program is less than six(6) months;
- You are enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) program;
- You are enrolled in the French as a Second Language (FSL) program, or
- You are visiting or exchange student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
Please, it is important to note that you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient finances to sustain you through your study program, regardless of whether you work or not. Proof of your financial capacity will need to be shown when you are applying for a study permit.
Future earnings as a source of funds will not be accepted as proof of your financial capacity sufficient to sustain you through school, so the fact that you intend to work when you arrive in Canada will not be accepted in this regard.
Your study permit will state the conditions on which you can be employed as well as whether or not you are permitted to work in Canada. With this, you can apply for a Social Insurance Number(SIN), a requirement for you to have before you can begin working.
If, after you receive your study permit, you are still not clear as to whether or not you can work while studying in Canada, you may ask the Immigration Officer you meet on arrival in Canada. After checking your study permit, he/she will confirm that.
B. Getting a Job To Work While Studying in Canada
We believe that the first step to getting a job in Canada is to have a good résumé and cover letter. The Canadian style of preparing a résumé and cover letter may be different from the style obtainable in your home country, or what you are used to, so you should prepare them according to the Canadian style in order for them to be accepted by the Canadian employers to whom you will be sending your application.
Note that your résumé speaks about you even in your absence, so you should be careful to prepare it in such a way that will catch the attention of your potential employer, without including false information in it. For each position you are applying for, write a cover letter that is tailored for the position. If you are sending your application via e-mail, your cover letter may substitute your introductory letter. But, whichever the case, ensure that the cover letter convinces your potential employer that you are the best candidate for the job, by stating the desirable qualities you possess with respect to what the employer seeks.
Where to search for job listings:
- Sites such as LinkedIn, Craigslist, Monster. Craigslist and Monster usually present listings for part-time jobs.
- Advertisements in front of shops, offices, or restaurants that have job openings.
- Word of mouth. There may be people around you who know about job openings.
- Places that look promising. You may choose to go to a shop, office, or restaurant and ask if there is any job opening, even if they do not have any advertisements.
- Your city or town’s portal. Your city or town may choose to display job listings at public places such as administrative offices, libraries, etc.
If you are going in person to ask for a job opening, remember to dress smart. Avoid wearing casual clothes, especially if you are going to an office. Take copies of your résumé with you and be prepared for an interview, in case one arises.
The Canadian work environment is generally favourable to students. Don’t be hesitant to tell your employer that you’re a student and that you may need to take some periods off work when you want to prepare for an exam or a big academic project. But, show a strong work ethic during your work periods. It is also important that you know your labour rights. Students who are working have the same labour rights as everyone else in Canada.
C. Receiving and Managing Income Funds As A Student Working While Studying in Canada
Most employers prefer to pay salaries and wages into your bank account. So, you should have a bank account and your employer should have details of the account, so that when your salary/wage is due, he/she can pay it into the bank account.
You should also know about the minimum wage in your province as well as the terms of your employment. Your employer should provide you with your payslips, as these will be necessary when you are filing your tax return.
When you receive your salary/wage, be sure to make a budget so you can avoid reckless spending. You’d be glad you did.
D. Co-op Work Permit
The co-op work permit is necessary if your study program requires that you complete a co-op or internship work placement before you can graduate. It can be issued alongside your study permit or after you get your study permit. To get your co-op work permit, you will need a valid study permit as well as an authorized letter issued by your institution indicating that all students undergoing your study program are required to complete a work placement as part of the criteria to get their degree.
Your eligibility to work while studying in Canada becomes invalid once you complete your studies. If you intend to continue working in Canada, you may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which will give you permission to continue working in Canada for any employer for up to three years.
If you want to start a new study program, you may continue working, however, you will need a valid study permit or any extension thereof, a written letter stating that you have completed your previous program, a letter confirming that you have been granted admission to begin a new study program at DLI, and a confirmation that you will begin your new study program within 150 days of receiving a confirmatory letter that you have completed your previous program.
Alternatively, you may come back under a category under the International Experience Canada (IEC), if you are eligible, and especially if don’t apply for PGWP.
The benefits of working while studying in Canada are endless. You can increase your social and professional network, you gain experience while working, you learn about different things and you get some funds while learning. If you are an international student in Canada, you should definitely endeavour to work while studying.