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Working in Canada


Working On Campus

Student Eligibility

Citizenship and Immigration Canada permits students to work on campus and be paid if:

Queen’s “Work Study” Program

Queen’s Work Study Program increases access to part-time jobs on campus for students who demonstrate financial need.   It does not guarantee you a job.   Any student who is registered in a minimum 60% course load (or full-time for graduate students) may apply.   See the Work Study page of the Student Awards website for application deadlines and other information.

Finding a Job

Queen’s Career Services Office works with students who are looking for part-time jobs during their studies and careers for after they graduate.   Their staff can help you develop skills that will help you find a job.

They have also developed a guide to some possible on campus employers.

Visiting Scholars/Researchers

Visiting scholars who hold a work permit identifying Queen’s as their employer are permitted to work on campus.

Queen’s provides information for international academic visitors and their hosts.

Visiting scholars/researchers are generally eligible to extend their existing status but may have difficulty changing immigration status (ie. Visitor record to work permit).


A post-doctoral fellowship recipient qualifies for a work permit without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

An application to do so can be submitted on paper (by mail/post) or online. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) try to give detailed instructions throughout the online application process.

Queen’s Office of Post-Doctoral Training has useful resources for post-docs.


Working Off Campus

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has implemented changes to the rules that apply to international students in Canada.

The changes are reflected on our site.

As of June 1, 2014 eligible students are allowed to work off-campus using their study permit.  Some students will require a work permit if a work placement is a required part of their academic program.

Spouses or partners of international students also qualify for work permits.

A  Social Insurance Number (S.I.N.) is required for anyone to be paid for work in Canada.


Off-campus work with a Study Permit

As of June 1, 2014, new rules came into effect for students interested in working off-campus.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new rules allow eligible students to work off-campus without a work permit:

  • For up to 20 hours per week during study periods, and full-time during scheduled breaks (ie. summer);
  • from the first day of their program of study.


Students will be permitted to work off-campus and be paid if:

  •   they are registered as a full-time student (in an academic, vocational, or professional program leading to a Canadian degree, diploma, or certificate),
  •   they hold a valid study permit and,
  •   they have a valid Social Insurance Number (S.I.N.)

Exchange students and those studying at the Queen’s School of English will not be eligible for off-campus work through this program.  They can still work on-campus if they meet the on-campus work eligibility requirements, or they can consider work permit options for non-degree students.


Co-op/Internship Work Permit

If a work placement is a required part of your Canadian academic program then you may qualify for a work permit at no charge.

There are few programs at Queen’s that qualify their students for a work permit through this program (please confirm with the department or faculty).   They include (but may not be limited to):

Information about applying on paper or online is available from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. They also provide an instruction guide for completing the application.

There is no application fee for a co-op/internship work permit because the work is a requirement of your Canadian academic program.

More information about getting a work permit for any of these programs is available from the International Student Advisors at the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC).


Off-Campus Work Permit (OCWP)

The Off-Campus Work Permit (OCWP) program has been replaced by permission to work off campus with a study permit.

Existing OCWPs will remain valid, but no new work permits will be issued through this program (because they will no longer be required).


Finding a Job

Queen’s Career Services Office works with students who are looking for part-time jobs during their studies and careers for after they graduate.   Their staff can help you develop skills that will help you find a job.



The process to extend your work permit should be the same as when you first applied in Canada.



The spouse or partner of an international student or worker is eligible to work in Canada with an “open work permit”.   The application for the work permit can be submitted online or through the mail.

The paper application should include, in addition to the documents requested on the document checklist, copies of the spouse/partner’s (ie. the student’s) study permit and passport.   This is necessary because the spouse/partner is eligible for the work permit based on the student’s immigration status in Canada.  The online application system should ask for proof of the student’s status as part of an “open work permit” application.

General information about applying can be found in the “How to Apply” section below.

Further information of interest to spouses and partners is available at our Spouses, Partners and Families page.


Non-Degree Students

As noted above, the Off-Campus Work Permit program is not available to non-degree students (eg. exchange).   In general, that means you are limited to on-campus work during your studies.   If you hope to work off-campus after your time at Queen’s, you have few options to get a Work Permit.   One possibility is to find out whether your government has an agreement with the Canadian government for youth mobility.   International Experience Canada oversees this program.

If your government does not have such an agreement, there may be an option through specially-recognized third-party organizations.   Beyond that, it may be very difficult to get a work permit.   Please come in to QUIC to meet with our International Student Advisors to discuss any other options.


Working after Graduation

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Students who complete an academic degree, diploma or certificate program that is at least 8 months in length may be eligible for a work permit through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

This program is available after the completion of one program. It is a “once-in-a-lifetime” program which means that even if you complete three degrees in Canada, you can only participate in the program once.

The work permit that is issued is “open”.  This means that it will not name an employer (a job offer is not required).   This allows for movement between employers.

More information is available from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.


When To Apply

  • You must submit your PGWP application within the 90 days following the completion of the requirements of your program.
  • Your study permit must also still be valid on the day you submit your application.

You do not need a job offer to apply.

Undergraduate students are usually considered to have completed the requirements of their degree on the date that marks are released after their final exams.   For graduate programs, it is the date the revised thesis is submitted (in thesis-based programs).   Check with your Faculty, academic department, or the Office of the University Registrar to confirm.

If your study permit expires after you apply for the PGWP but before it is issued, you can remain in Canada under “implied status” while you wait for a response from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.


Validity Period

Length of academic program Length of work permit
8 months to 2 (academic) years one month of work for every month of study
2 (academic) years or longer 3-year work permit

If your passport expires during the period of your work permit, you should be able to extend the permit after getting a new passport.


How To Apply

Applications can be made online or by mail (post).   Online instructions are available below.   Paper forms are available through Citizenship and Immigration Canada or the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC).

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) try to give detailed instructions throught the online application process. A few useful additional notes include:

More information on the GCKey and the application process is available from the International Student Advisors or through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.  They also provide an instruction guide for completing the application.


Application Fees

The work permit application fee is $155 CAN.

The application fee can be paid online (if you have a valid credit card), or through a Canadian bank (using a payment form available from our International Student Advisors).


Finding a Job

Queen’s Career Services Office works with students who are looking for part-time jobs during their studies and careers for after they graduate.   Their staff can help you develop skills that will help you find a job.


Starting Work

If you have an Off-Campus Work Permit or you hold a valid study permit and have applied for your Post-Graduation Work Permit, you can begin working at any time.   Both permits can be used as a “bridge” between the end of your studies and the date you receive your Post-Graduation Work Permit.


More Information

The “After Queen’s” page of this site provides information about what comes after you complete your studies.



If your passport expires before the “normal” validity period of your PGWP, you can apply to extend your Post-Graduation Work Permit until the end of your eligibility.

If you are near the end of your eligibility and you want to continue to work, the rules for getting a work permit extension depend on your situation.

  • One option is for your employer to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada.   With a positive LMIA, your employer can offer you the job extension and you can apply for a new Work Permit.
  • If you have applied for Permanent Resident status in Canada but your Post-Graduation Work Permit will expire before that status is granted, a Bridging Open Work Permit may be an option to ensure uninterrupted work.


Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A Social Insurance Number card is required to be paid for work in Canada.   International students who successfully apply will get a SIN that starts with a “9″ and that has an expiry date (which usually matches their study permit).   The Social Insurance Number is also used for credit record purposes. It is very important and should be kept confidential (you do not need to keep it with you).


How To Apply

Applications are processed by Service Canada. The office nearest to Queen’s University is at 1300 Bath Road (in the Frontenac Mall).   It is open from 8:30am to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday.   The application form is available at the office.   There is no cost to apply for a Social Insurance Number.

Once you submit your application, you will be given a receipt with your SIN.   The receipt can be shown to your employer to allow you to start work and/or be paid.


Required Documents

Study Permit Holders (with the words “may work” or “may accept employment” on their permit)
  • passport, and;
  • study permit.


Study Permit Holders (without the words “may work” or “may accept employment” on their permit)
  • passport;
  • study permit, and;
If working on-campus:
  • verification of full-time enrolment (available through SOLUS), and;
  • proof of on-campus employment that:
    • is on Queen’s letterhead;
    • includes the student’s name;
    • confirms the work is on-campus;
    • includes the employer’s name and telephone number, and;
    • is signed by a Queen’s official.
If working off-campus:

The confirmation letter can only be requested by those in full-time programs of at least 6 months leading to a Queen’s degree, diploma, or certificate.

Eligible students will need to request a verification of enrollment from the Office of the University Registrar (undergraduate students) or the School of Graduate Studies (graduate students) with all the required information and submit a request to Citizenship and Immigration Canada by completing a Case Specific Enquiry form.

When submitting the Enquiry form, you must:

  • select “International Student – confirmation letter to work off campus” under “Type of application”;
  • You must also provide your Client Identification Number (UCI), and;
  • upload the verification of enrolment.  


Work Permit Holders
  • passport, and;
  • work permit.


Expiry Dates

International students or workers should be issued a Social Insurance Number confirmation sheet with an expiry date that matches their study or work permit.   To continue to work and be paid, it will be necessary to extend your confirmation.   This can only be done after extending your study and/or work permit.

By applying to extend your study and/or work permit before their expiry date, you will have “implied status” which allows you to stay in Canada while a decision is made. That “implied status” also applies to your Social Insurance Number.   That means you can legally continue to work and be paid while you wait for your new immigration document. Once it arrives, you can return to the Service Canada office with the proper documents to apply for a new confirmation (the number will be the same).


Social Insurance Number Uses

A Social Insurance Number is not required to complete Canadian Income Tax forms.   Those without a Social Insurance Number who wish to complete Canadian Income Tax forms can apply for an Individual Tax Number along with their Tax forms.   More information about Income Taxes is available below.

Many more organizations ask for your Social Insurance Number than are supposed to.   Service Canada, the portion of our Federal Government that issues and manages Social Insurance Numbers, provides information about which services can require you to give your Social Insurance Number and which cannot and what to do if an organization that should not require your Social Insurance Number refuses to accept other identity documents.


Income Taxes

Most students will not earn enough income from Canadian sources to be required to pay income tax.   Nonetheless, if you earn income from Canadian sources you are expected to complete Canadian Income Tax forms.

Completing Canadian Income Tax forms can qualify you for hundreds of dollars in immediate tax refunds and thousands of dollars in long-term tax credits if you have future income in Canada.

Visit our “Taxes” page for more information.


Information for Employers

Information for employers can be found on our “Hiring International Students and Graduates” page.   There you will find details of how easy it is to hire international students during or after their academic program.


Further Questions?

Support through Queen’s

If you have further questions, after reviewing the information above, advising is available (without an appointment) from the International Student Advisors at the Queen’s University International Centre from Monday to Friday between 1:00pm and 4:30pm.


Support outside of Queen’s

CIC Help Centre

(frequently asked questions – online)

Call Centre1-888-242-2100

(for those already in Canada)

Automated telephone service

(available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) If you have a touch-tone telephone, you can listen to prerecorded information about CIC programs, and check the status of your application.

Call Centre agents

Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (local time, excluding holidays) Services are available in French and English.


(Expect 1 to 2 week response time)

For general questions about the CIC website, online application system, or an application being processed within Canada.

If your question is about a specific application (if not, use the Help Centre noted above), it is important to provide as much information as possible. This should include:

  • Surname (last name) – Exactly as it appears on the passport or identity document
  • Given name(s) (first name) – Exactly as it appears on the passport or identity document
  • Date of birth (YYYY-MM-DD)
  • Country of birth
  • Complete address (including the postal code). If the residential address is different from the mailing address, please provide both addresses.
  • Telephone number
  • Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number / Client ID number
  • Type of application submitted (Temporary Resident Visa)
  • Approximate date that the application was submitted, and whether it was submitted online or mailed to a specific office.
  • Online application reference number (if applicable)
For specific technical difficulties with the online application system or other aspects of the CIC website.

In addition to the information noted above, it is also wise to provide a description of the problem (and screen shots [Mac][Windows]) of:

  • The page you are attempting to access, and
  • The error message you received (if applicable)