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 internationalcentre@nait.ca to book an appointment with an International Student Advisor in room W-101 or call 780.378.6130.

Full-time students

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).

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 must be a full-time student after the break. 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 (fewer than 9 credits per term), 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 internationalcentre@nait.ca 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.