International Students who worked in an essential service during COVID time were allowed to work more than 20 hours during an academic session. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has confirmed that from March 18, 2020 to August 31, 2020, students were allowed to work more than 20 hours per week during an academic session in an essential service.

The corresponding public policy remains in place to prevent students who worked more than 20 hours per week during an academic session in an essential service from being penalized on future immigration applications (for example, a study permit extension or the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program).

On and off-campus work

As of September 1, 2020, students must be full-time, enrolled at a DLI and meet all on-campus and off-campus work eligibility requirements in order to work in Canada.

Students who are eligible for on-campus work can continue to work remotely for the employers located within the boundaries of the educational institution at which they are registered. It is recommended that employers provide a teleworking work agreement to the students as confirmation.

Co-op work permit

Applicants under exemption code C32  post-secondary co-op or C33 secondary school co-op are exempt for the work permit processing fee.

Outside Canada

Students who are outside of Canada can work while their study permit and co-op work permit are being processed. If their school and employer agree, they can either

  • accept a Canadian work placement and begin working remotely from their home country or
  • work for a company in their home country

Inside Canada

Students who are already in Canada and have applied for a co-op work permit may begin their co-op placement using their on-campus and off-campus work authorization, provided they meet all the eligibility requirements.

There is no limit on work hours for on-campus work. Students may accept employment on the campus of the university or college at which they are a full-time student. For off-campus work authorization, students can work a total of 20 hours per week during an academic term/semester, including both the hours for co-op and the hours for their regular paid job (if they have one), while they are waiting for their co-op work permit. They can work full-time during the regularly scheduled breaks.

However, if the co-op work permit application is refused, they must stop their co-op work immediately.

Please contact one of our lawyers at [email protected], if you have any questions or would like to discuss your immigration options.


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