Work during your studies

Whether you choose to work on or off-campus, make sure you understand the requirements.

For more information about working off-campus, refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

Know your rights

Working while you study is a great way to make money, meet people, and learn about BC’s work culture. However, it might be a little different to working back home. Learn about your basic rights as an employee.

Your basic work rights

When you work in BC, you have basic legal rights that make sure you’re safe at work and your employer treats you well.

When you start your job, some of the things your boss or employer must do are:

  • Give you a written employment agreement.
  • Not charge you a fee for giving you a job.
  • Pay you at least the minimum wage.
  • Give you paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks.
  • Ensure you receive your minimum entitlements for public holidays.
  • Not take money from your wages unless it is for a lawful purpose, is reasonable, and you have agreed to it in writing.
  • Provide a safe workplace.
  • Not discriminate against you.
  • Treat you fairly and with respect.

If they don’t, they’re breaking the law.

Work off campus

While you are attending your institution, you may work off campus without a work permit under certain conditions. Off campus work is work that takes place outside the boundaries of the campus at which you are registered.

Am I eligible?
If you qualify, your study permit will allow you to:

  • Work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions; and,
  • Work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a valid study permit;
  • Have a valid social insurance number, or you had a SIN and are on maintained status;
  • Be a full-time student;
  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level, and,
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational, or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

Work on campus

Am I eligible?
You may work on campus at the institution you are attending without a work permit if:

  • You are a full-time student at an eligible post-secondary institution;
  • You have a valid study permit;
  • Have a valid social insurance number, or you had a SIN and are on maintained status.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not limit the number of hours you can work on campus. Some university employers may restrict the hours students can work.

By working on campus, you can:

  • Expand your social and professional networks;
  • Be more involved in the campus community, and
  • Enhance your learning through work experiences in an academic setting.

For more information about working on campus, contact your post-secondary institution’s international education office.

Co-op and internship programs

Some programs include work experience as part of the curriculum. You must apply for a work permit to participate in co-op or internship programs.

Am I eligible?
You may be eligible for a work permit if:

  • You have a valid study permit and a valid co-op work permit, or you have applied to extend both your study permit and co-op work permit before they expired and have maintained status;
  • You have a valid social insurance number, or you had a SIN and are on maintained status.
  • Your intended employment is an essential part of your program of study;
  • Your employment is part of your academic, vocational or professional training program offered by an eligible institution, certified by a letter from your institution; and,
  • Your co-op or internship does not form more than 50 percent of the total program of study.

For more information about working as a co-op or intern, refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

How do I apply?

Apply online

  1. Determine if you are eligible for a work permit.
  2. Follow the steps to complete your application online.

Apply on paper

  1. Download the application package.
  2. Complete the application and provide the required documentation.
  3. Mail the application form and documents to the address included in the application.