If you worked in any of these countries, you could be due a Tax Refund

Can international students work while in Canada on a study permit?

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More than 600,000 international students study in Canadian universities and colleges each year.

If you are in Canada on a study permit you may be wondering whether you are entitled to work and earn an income in addition to your studies.  

The answer to this question largely depends on a number of factors and in this guide, we will examine the circumstances in which students are entitled to work in Canada.

Your study permit

First thing’s first. Take a look at your study permit. 

It may state that you are entitled to work in Canada (on or off campus).

If it does, it will also detail the conditions of your employment and you can use these details to apply for SIN (Social Insurance Number) which is a key requirement to start working in Canada.

If your study permit does not mention your employment entitlements, you may risk losing your permit if you start working in the country.

Amending your study permit

The good news is, if your study permit does not mention employment entitlements, you can request an amendment of your study permit.

There is also an option to apply for urgent processing if you are at risk of losing an employment opportunity.

You will have to include a letter from the employer in order to prove this and write “URGENT” on the envelope. 

However, if your study permit says “This permit does not allow the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada”, you will be unable to amend it. 

You will have to apply to change its conditions and pay the fee. After this, you will also have to apply for a SIN. 

Working off-campus

If you are working for an employer outside of the college or the university, this means you are working off-campus.

Before you start your employment, you must check if you are eligible for this type of work. 

You must meet all of the following requirements:

  • be a full-time student at a faculty accepted by a territorial/provincial government to host international students

  • You must be enrolled in a post-secondary school or if you live in Quebec, a secondary level vocational training program

  • The length of your program has to be a minimum of 6 months and results with a certificate, diploma or degree

  • Your study permit has a line that lets you work off-campus

  • Your classes have begun

  • You have a SIN

You will have to stop working if your circumstances change and you don’t meet the requirements anymore. You can also leave Canada and apply for a new study permit after at least six months. 

You can’t work off-campus if you are enrolled only in English or French (ESL/FSL) as a second language. 


Working on-campus

In order to work on-campus, you will have to meet all of these requirements:

  • be a full-time post-secondary student at:

- public post-secondary school (university or college)

- private college-level school in Quebec which operates as a public school

- Canadian private school with the proper authority to award degrees

  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • have a valid study permit

You have to stop working when:

  • you stop studying full-time, or

  • you aren’t currently studying because you are switching schools, or

  • your study permit expires

While you are on authorized leave from studying, you are also not allowed to work. Authorized leave includes family, medical, or other reasons. 

The average Canadian tax refund is $998

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How many hours can students work in Canada?

Generally, on the Canadian student visa, you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the college semester. 

During holidays and breaks, you can work full-time. 


How do international students file taxes?

While you are working in Canada, your employer is obliged to deduct taxes. 

International students are usually considered non-residents for tax purposes and as a non-resident in Canada, you have to mail your student tax return to the tax office. 

You cannot use NETFILE or EFILE because these options can be used only by residents. 

If you are in Canada for a short period of time, it’s a good idea to get help from a tax professional who will check all your tax requirements and help you claim your tax refund in Canada

Taxback.com has provided tax services for non-residents in Canada for more than 20 years. We will help you get your maximum legal refund while staying fully compliant with the CRA. We will also transfer your refund straight to your bank account anywhere in the world - so you can still easily get your Canada tax back if you've left the country!

You can register here if you want to check if you are due a tax refund.

Our policy is no refund, no fee. Feel free to use our tax return calculator to find out if you are owed tax back in Canada

The average Canadian tax refund is $998

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About The Author

Kristina Valcheva - Digital content writer @ Taxback.com

Kristina is a digital content writer at Taxback.com. She has a strong interest in finance and technology, and her background is in media, journalism and sales.

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