Working as an
International Students

Work experience is an important part of a students career journey. PLC students can apply for jobs as soon as they classes start but they need to work according to how Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) defines so as to maintain their status as students in Canada.

Though some students may arrive early before the programs start, they are not allowed to start working off campus until after there classes start.

Documents Needed for Working in Canada

1. Social Insurance Number (SIN) – A Social Insurance Number is a 9-digit number issued to Canadians and temporary residents by Service Canada —  a federal service centre providing employment, tax, and benefits-related assistance. Without SIN employers won’t be able to hire you in their companies. A SIN is issued to one person only and it should not be used by anyone else other than yourself, so please make sure you store your SIN information in a safe place as you are responsible for protecting your SIN. There is no cost to apply for SIN. PLC will only ask for your SIN once, and that’s for tax purposes only.

  • Applying for SIN

You can apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in person, by mail, or online (it takes approximately 15 days to receive it). If you apply in-person (recommended), you will be able to receive your SIN the same day of your visit to the Service Canada Office. The following documents are required for a successful application: a valid original study permit and passport. Photocopies are not accepted. Your study permit should indicate that you “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada.

If your study permit does not specify working conditions, you may request to amend your study permit with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) at no cost.

2. Study Permit -Employers will ask for your study permit when applying for job as you identify yourself as a student. To be eligible for work your study permit should say one of the following:

  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
  • May work 20 hrs per week off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR

3. Co-op Permit – This is only required when you want to start co-op/practicum and if you are enlisted in a program of study that has a work experience component. A co-op work permit will allow you to work full-time during academic sessions.

Working Off Campus

Off-campus means Any location outside the boundaries of the campus of the educational institution at which the student is registered.

International students can work off-campus if:

  • You are a full-time student enrolled at Pacific Link College;
  • You have a valid study permit;
  • You are in an academic program that is at least 6 months in duration and that leads to a diploma or certificate;
  • You have a valid SIN.

During academic sessions, students may work up to 20 hours per week after they have started their program of study. During academic breaks, students are allowed to work full-time. There is no set number of hours per week that counts as ‘full-time’ work.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may update off-campus work hours for international students once in a while, so it’s advised to visit the IRCC website for any updates.

With with a Co-op Work Permit

Some of the programs are with Co-op, which means a student must complete work experience in order to graduate. A co-op work permit is a work permit that allows a student to work full-time during academic periods. Before starting co-op, students are required to have a co-op work permit and a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and have met PLC’s co-op program criteria.

How to Apply for Co-op Work Permit

  1. You should apply for your co-op work permit along with your initial study permit application. If your program has co-op component attached, make sure your Letter of Acceptance (LOA) and Confirmation of Enrollment Letter have a Work Experience Component Cheched as “Yes”.  Make sure you receive a co-op work permit along with your initial study permit at the Port of Entry when you land in Canada.
  2. If you changed your program to a program that requires you to finish a work experience component (Co-op/practicum) to graduate, please make sure you contact the admissions office to request a LOA for this new program. Once received, apply for your co-op permit online (recommended) or by mail. It’s a free application.

It is recommended to apply for a co-op work permit at least 3-4 months before your co-op term starts.

Important things to know about the co-op work permit

Work experience forms an integral part of studies for programs involving it, but students are required to put their primary focus towards the completion of their program and not just working.

  • Without a valid co-op work permit, you may not start your co-op position
  • The co-op work permit allows you to work full-time in a field related to your program of study.
  • Co-op/Practicum does not form more than 50% of the total program of study. Students can only start co-op/practicum after completion of a certain number of courses in their program of study. They cannot start their co-op work just after starting classes.
  • You are required to track and submit your hours for co-op as soon as you start co-op. When you have reached the required amount of hours for co-op, you must stop using the co-op work permit.

Other Resources

career center

Career Centre

Get familiar with the Canadian work environment and how to apply for jobs.

job board apply for jobs

Job Board

Looking for jobs? Visit the PLC student job board to apply for jobs

Study Permit Extension Checklist

Study Permit Extension

Learn what to do when you need to extend your study permit.