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.

For more information on working while on a study permit, watch Working in Canada - Rules for International students.

Program type and working permissions

1. Students in Certificate, Diploma and Degree programs

According to IRCC, you are eligible to work up to 20 hours a week off campus and/or full-time on campus during each academic term (your first semester and each following Fall and Winter semester), if you:

  • are enrolled full-time in an academic certificate, diploma or degree program that is at least 6 months long
  • have started your classes
  • have a condition written on your study permit that authorizes you to work
  • have a Social Insurance Number

NOTE: You may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week off-campus until April 30, 2024 (or the date that your current study permit expires, whichever date is first), if you applied for your current study permit or a study permit extension by December 7, 2023. You can review the Temporary Working Measures here.

2. Upgrading, ESL and Open Studies students

If you are enrolled full-time in Upgrading, ESL or Open Studies, you are eligible to work on-campus but not off-campus.

As a Study Permit holder, your primary focus of being in Canada needs to be studying. While you may have permissions to work while studying, your academic standing should not suffer as a result of your work.

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, full-time students may be eligible to work full-time during each regularly scheduled break. You can check the NAIT calendar to find the dates of our scheduled breaks. The following times are usually scheduled breaks at NAIT:

  • The spring and summer months (May to August), unless this is your first semester at NAIT
  •  Winter break (middle of December to early January)
  • Reading Break (one week in February around Family Day).

In order to work full-time 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, you must have been a full-time student before the break and a full-time OR part-time student after the break. In all cases, you must meet all additional IRCC requirements to work off-campus.

Some students have the option to study full-time, part-time, or not at all in the Spring semester. Students who choose to study during scheduled breaks can still work full-time off-campus as long as they study full-time before and after the break and meet all additional IRCC requirements.

Part-time students in the last semester of their program

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.

According to IRCC, students who are enrolled part-time during the last semester of their certificate, diploma or degree can keep working, as long as they studied full-time in all other academic semesters. These students can work up to 20 hours per week off-campus (or full-time if they meet IRCC’s Temporary Working Measure).

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

Students who've completed their program

Students who complete all their program requirements and still meet eligibility for off-campus work, can continue to work like normal, using the authorization on their study permit, until they obtain a written confirmation of graduation. At NAIT, confirmation of graduation is called a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) letter, also known as a Completion of Studies letter. This e-letter will be uploaded to your NAIT Portal according to the following timelines:

If you finish your program in:

  • April – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-May.
  • August – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-September.
  • December – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-January.

According to IRCC , once a PGWP letter is issued, you must stop working immediately. Please visit the ‘Post-Graduation Work Permit’ section on the left to learn more about working after completing your studies.

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. Feel free to submit any immigration questions to the NAIT Student Service Centre. You can also visit the Government of Canada's immigration and citizenship page for up to date information.

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