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Frequently Asked Questions

Hiring International Students During Their Studies

Absolutely, you can hire an international student currently pursuing their studies in Canada, provided they hold a valid study permit. However, there are additional considerations to keep in mind as we navigate this journey together. 

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that the international student has the appropriate work authorization. In most cases, international students with a valid study permit are eligible to work part-time, up to 20 hours per week, during their studies and full-time during scheduled breaks without the need for a separate work permit. However, it’s essential to check their specific study permit as certain students may have restrictions on their work eligibility such as being able to work on campus or off campus and whether or not they are full-time students. When in doubt, refer to this page from the Canadian government.

Not every international student on a study permit is allowed to work off campus. Before you give an offer to your student, confirm their eligibility to work off-campus by learning more here. In most cases, they are eligible to work off campus if they are

(i) a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI),

(ii) already started their studies,

(iii) they are enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program or a secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only)

(iv) in a program that is at least 6 months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate,

(v) they have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Yes. If your student is a full-time student and meets the eligibility to work off campus above, then everything is ok. If your student is a part-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI), they can work off campus only if they meet all of the requirements to work off campus above, except the requirement to be a full-time student, and they are only studying part-time, instead of full-time, because they are in the last semester of their study program and they don’t need a full course load to complete your program and they were a full-time student in the program in Canada, up until their last semester.

During regular academic sessions, which typically occur during the fall and winter terms, international students are permitted to work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week. This limit ensures that students can maintain a balance between their studies and part-time employment.

There are some special scenarios when international students are able to work more than 20 hours per week. 

  • They can work full-time if they are on a scheduled break, such as winter and summer holidays, or a fall or spring reading week. They are free to work overtime or work 2 part-time jobs that add up to a higher-than-usual number of hours. However, they must be a full-time student both before and after the break to work full-time. They can’t work during a break that comes before the start of their very first school semester.
  • They have a valid co-op work permit. For international students participating in co-op or internship programs, they must secure a co-op work permit which is a separate type of permit from a study permit or work permit. 
  • They have already graduated and are waiting for their PGWP. You can hire an international student graduate full-time while they wait for a decision on the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application if, at the time they submitted the application, all of the following applied to your situation:
  • They had a valid study permit.
  • They had completed your program of study.
  • They were eligible to work off campus without a permit.
  • They did not work off campus more than 20 hours a week during academic sessions.
  • Temporary Lift of Restrictions: There may be temporary changes in these restrictions during scheduled breaks, such as summer and winter holidays. During these periods, international students may be allowed to work up to 40 hours per week. It’s important to note that these temporary changes can vary and may be subject to updates from the government. Staying informed about the latest regulations is essential.

If you plan to hire an international student through a co-op or internship program, you must work within the specific guidelines and requirements of the program, which can vary depending on the institution. International students require a co-op work permit which allows them to work on a full-time basis during their studies. 

Students can apply for a co-op or intern work permit if they meet all of the following conditions (i) they have a valid study permit, (ii) they are required to work in order to complete their study program in Canada, (iii) they have a letter from the school that confirms all students in the program need to complete work placements to get their degree, (iiii) their co-op placement or internship totals 50% or less of the study program. Learn more about co-op permits here

Before you give an offer to either international student or international student graduate for an employment opportunity, you must check the following documents to ensure they are eligible to work for you.

  • Valid Study Permit: If you are hiring a student who is currently studying, they must have a valid study permit and meet the eligibility requirements to work off campus.

  • Valid Work Permit: if you are hiring an international student who has already graduated, they must present you with a valid work permit, this can be a Post-Graduation Work Permit..

  • Co-op Work Permit: If you are hiring a student as an intern or co-op which will require them to work on a full-time basis during their academic sessions, they must have a valid co-op work permit.

  • Valid Social Insurance Number (SIN): In Canada, individuals must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work legally. Ensure that the international student has obtained a valid SIN if it’s a requirement for their employment.
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Hiring International Students After Graduation

You can hire international student graduates with a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). When international student graduates, they will receive a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), this permit allows them to work in Canada after graduation, further contributing their skills and talents to the Canadian workforce. PGWP has expiry date so make sure that the permit is valid throughout the time of employment. 

It’s important to note that not every international student will receive a PGWP. Only students graduated from a destinated learning institution (DLI) and meet the eligibility requirements will receive a PGWP. 

In some case, an international student may graduate and ready to work full-time but are still waiting for a decision on their PGWP , they are still able to work for you as long as they have a valid study permit and have already applied for a PGWP. Waiting for PGWP can take a long time, so the students can give you a confirmation letter that they have successfully applied to PGWP in the meantime and give you a valid PGWP. 

Yes, you can hire an international student graduate full-time while they wait for a decision on the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application if, at the time they submitted the application, all of the following applied to your situation:

  • They had a valid study permit.
  • They had completed your program of study.
  • They were eligible to work off campus without a permit.
  • They did not work off campus more than 20 hours a week during academic sessions.

Refer to the Canadian government page here.

Under the PGWP, international students can work under any employer, so long as they are not under the ineligible employer list. The duration of a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada depends on the length of the program of study completed by the international student. Here’s a general guideline:

Program Duration Less than 8 Months: If the program of study completed by the international student is less than eight months in duration, they would not be eligible for a PGWP.

Program Duration Between 8 Months and 2 Years: If the program is between eight months and two years in duration, the PGWP may be issued for a length of time equivalent to the duration of the program. For example, if the program was one year in length, the PGWP could also be issued for one year.

Program Duration 2 Years or More: If the program is two years or longer, the PGWP could be issued for up to three years.

It’s important to note that the PGWP is typically issued once in a lifetime. Therefore, the duration of the PGWP granted upon completion of the first eligible program of study is the one that applies. If an international student completes a second eligible program, they would not receive an additional PGWP.

If a candidate’s work permit is expiring, it’s crucial to assess their situation and explore available options. This may include applying for other type of work permit, helping them transition to permanent residency through suitable immigration programs, or exploring alternative work permit categories that align with their skills and qualifications.

PGWP can expires for two reasons: it rans out of its duration and the length of the passport expires before the PGWP does. If it is the latter, your candidate is able to apply for extension. 

If it rans out of its duration, it’s crucial to assess their situation and explore available options. This may include applying for other type of work permit, helping them transition to permanent residency through suitable immigration programs, or exploring alternative work permit categories that align with their skills and qualifications.

However, in most cases, international students with PGWP are eligible to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) with a full year of Canadian work experience so as long as they have applied for a Permanent Residency and waiting for their PR card, they can continue working for you regularly on an implied status. 

Yes, if they have other types of open work permit or work authorization that allows them to work for any employer in Canada. If your candidate does not have any work authorization to work in Canada, you can explore various options available on the Canadian government pages below or consult with a licensed immigration lawyer to understand your options.

There are several immigration programs available for international students to apply for Permanent Residency on their own without sponsorship required from the employers. 

Often, employers are required to provide a reference or experience letter, which should be an official document printed on company letterhead (must include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information [address, telephone number and email address], and the name, title and signature of the immediate supervisor or personnel officer at the company), should indicate all positions held while employed at the company and must include the following details: job title, duties and responsibilities, job status (if current job), dates worked for the company, number of work hours per week and annual salary plus benefits; and if the work experience is in Canada, proof may include copies of T4 tax information slips and notices of assessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (the time period for these documents should reflect the work experience timeframe.

If your talent is not able to apply for Permanent Residency through any of the available programs, we recommend that you consult with a licensed immigration lawyer or refer to the following guides by the Canadian government. 

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