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
    If you are enrolled full-time in a Certificate, Diploma or Degree program that is authorized by the Government of Alberta (GOA), 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.

To determine whether you can work on- or off-campus (or both), you need to understand what program you are in. If you are not sure about what program category you are in, please email to book an appointment with an International Student Advisor in room W-101 or call 780.378.6130.


In order to be eligible to work while you study at NAIT (in either DLP categories), you must be enrolled in your program full-time. If for some reason you are enrolled part-time, you are not eligible to work on- or off-campus unless you are in your final semester and only have 1 or 2 courses remaining. Your authorization to work on- and off-campus depends on whether or not you are enrolled full-time in a DLP.

To be considered full-time at NAIT, you must be enrolled in 9 credit per term, or 3 day courses if you are in the ESL program.

Note: You need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada. To apply for a SIN for on-campus employment, you must have a valid study permit and an employment contract. Students can apply for a SIN before or within the first 3 days of employment. A SIN is not a work permit (i.e., possessing a SIN is not permission to work in Canada).

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.