Work with a Study Permit

Work experience, whether paid or unpaid, can help you build your career, gain exposure to the Canadian workplace, help develop connections in the community and provide you with supplemental income. Depending on the program of study you are enrolled in, there are different work authorizations and permits international students may be eligible to use to work on- and off-campus.

This section describes the different work authorizations students are able to use while holding a valid study permit. 

Note: it is important to always check the comments or notes written on your study permit before engaging any sort of work activities in Canada.

If I hold a study permit, can I work?

At NAIT, Designated Learning Programs (DLPs) are divided into two categories.

  1. Certificate, Diploma and Degree programs
    According to IRCC, if you are enrolled full-time in an academic certificate, diploma or degree program that is 6 months or longer, you are eligible to work on and off campus for 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks.
  2. Upgrading, ESL and Open Studies
    If you are enrolled full-time in Upgrading, ESL or Open Studies, you are eligible to work on-campus but not off-campus.

Full-time students

According to IRCC, in order to work while you study at a NAIT Designated Learning Program (DLPs), you must be enrolled in your program full-time.

To be considered full-time in English as a Second Language (ESL) program, you need to be taking three classes. To be considered full-time in all other NAIT DLPs, you will need to be enrolled in 60% of your program’s full course load.

Note: you need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada. Please visit our Pre-arrival Tips and Resources page to learn more. A SIN is not a work permit, just having a SIN does not permit you to work in Canada.

Working during scheduled breaks

According to IRCC, some full-time students may be eligible to work up to full-time hours during each regularly scheduled break. At NAIT, the spring and summer months (May to August), winter break (middle of December to early January) and reading week (one week in February around Family Day) are scheduled breaks. Please check the NAIT calendar for the most up-to-date list of important dates.

If you would like to work full-time off-campus during scheduled breaks, you must have been a full-time student before the break and a full-time student after the break. Or, if this is your last semester, full-time student before the break and a full-time OR part-time student after the break. In either case, you must also meet all additional IRCC requirements.

Some students wish to take full-time or part-time classes in the spring semester, even if their program does not require them to. In this case, students may work full-time off-campus, but will still need to have been a full-time student before and after the break, plus meet all additional IRCC requirements.

If after reading this information and exploring the IRCC links above, you still have questions about your Study Permit conditions and working privileges, consider registering for our workshop, You are in Canada, Now What? 

This event is offered at the beginning of every semester.

Part-time students in the last semester of their program

Sometimes, students in the last semester of their studies may only have one or two classes left to finish their credential. As a result, they may be enrolled part-time, or in fewer than a 3-day courses if in the ESL program.

According to IRCC, students who are enrolled part-time during the last semester of their studies can keep working up to 20 hours per week off-campus if they are in a credit program.

If you are in an Academic Upgrading or ESL program, you can only work on-campus and you must be enrolled full-time in order to work.

The immigration information on this page has been reviewed and endorsed by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) in compliance with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, this is not a legal document and information may change without notice.

Looking for more information?

We're happy to help answer your questions. Please email if you have any specific questions. We also recommend you check out the Government of Canada's Immigration, Refugees and  Citizenship page for all up to date information.