Working as an international student

Gaining work experience while you are studying can give you a head start on achieving your career goals after you graduate. Each institution defines  and  in compliance with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). For the definitions for Ƶ International students, visit Enrollment status for International students page.

Here are some resources to help you understand your enrollment status and working eligibility as a Ƶ student. 

Note: Students enrolled in the ELLA (English Language Learning and Acquisition) program are not eligible to work off-campus. Students enrolled in the Academic Foundations Certificate program and who are completing courses to meet admission requirements of another academic program are not eligible to work off-campus.

After Arrival
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
During the time before you start your studies at DouglasAcademic programsN/ANo work allowed
First Semester
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
The semester when you started your studies at Ƶor the first semester you are enrolled in a new program if you changed your program Academic programs9 credits minimumUp to 20hrs/week


Winter Semester
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
January - AprilAcademic programs9 credits minimumUp to 20hrs/week
Summer Semester
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
May - AugustDiplomas, Associate Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees, Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas, Early Childhood Education Certificate

Scheduled break &

Optional enrolment 

Post-Degree Diplomas, Certificates (excluding the Early Childhood Education Certificate program)9 credits minimumUp to 20hrs/week

Optional enrolment means there is no enrolment requirement and you are allowed to take the summer semester off, be part-time enrolled or be full-time enrolled. 

You must be enrolled full-time in the semester before and after the Summer semester in order to work full-time. Full-time work means you can work more than 20 hours/week. Check for more information. 

Please note that Summer semester cannot be your scheduled break if it is your first or last semester in the program that you are currently enrolled in. 

NOTE: You may work off-campus on a full-time basis in the Summer regardless of the course load if:

  1. you have maintained full-time enrolment status for the duration of your program,
  2. you are in the program that is eligible for a Summer scheduled break,
  3. you maintained your full-time status in the preceding Winter semester, and
  4. you have a part-time course load left in the following Fall semester as your final semester.

For more information please visit .

Fall Semester
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
September - DecemberAcademic programs9 credits minimumUp to 20hrs/week
Study Break
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
Check "dates and deadlines" for the specific week in FebruaryAcademic programs

Scheduled break &

No courses


You need to be full-time enrolled in the Winter semester in order to work full-time in the study break. Full-time work means you can work more than 20 hours/week. Check for more information. 


Break between Semesters
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
From the day after the last day of Ƶ's exam period to the day before the first day of the following semesterAcademic programs

Scheduled break &

No courses


In order to work full-time in the break between two semesters, you need to be enrolled full-time in those two semesters. Full-time work means more than 20 hours/week. There is no set number of hours per week that counts as 'full-time' work. Check for more information. 

The last day of your final exams is not the same as the last day of the college's exam period. Please check our dates and deadlines for more information.

Last Semester
PeriodProgramEnrolmentOff-Campus Working Eligibility
The semester when you complete your studies at DouglasAcademic programsPart-time enrolment allowed if only part-time course load neededUp to 20hrs/week
From the last day of exam period to the first written notification of program completionN/A

You may work off-campus on a part-time basis, only if you have maintained full-time status during each academic semester of your study program. This does not include your final semester, which can be part-time.

For more information about on-campus working eligibility in your last semester, please .

The first written notification refers to the date you receive either: 1) Completion Letter or, 2) An email confirming all graduation requirements are met, whichever comes first.

Documents Needed for Working

1. Study permit - In some cases, your study permit also act as your work permit. Your study permit must say one of the following:

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

2. Social Insurance Number (SIN) - A Social Insurance Number is required in order to work in Canada. , bring your valid study permit and passport and to the nearest . 

If you study permit does not specify working conditions, you may  your study permit with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) at no cost. If you are an ELLA student moving into an academic program, you may also apply for a . 

Working On-campus

You may work on-campus without a work permit if you:

  • are a full-time student enrolled at Ƶ
  • have a valid study permit
  • have a valid SIN 

"On-campus" is defined as employment facilities within the boundaries of the campus. Students are only allowed to work on the campus at which they are registered as a FT student. Students cannot work at OTHER campuses affiliated with the College. For example, if you are enrolled full-time at the New West campus, you can only work at the New West campus.

The employer can be the institution, a faculty, a student organization, the students themselves (self-employment taking place on campus), a private business, or a private contractor providing services to the institution on the campus. IRCC does not regulate the amount of hours you can work on-campus. 

Working Off-campus

International students can work off-campus if:

  • You are a full-time student enrolled at Ƶ;
  • You are in an academic program that is at least 6 months in duration and that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate;
  • You have a valid study permit;
  • Your study permit has the conditions that allow you to work;
  • You have a valid SIN.

To maintain working eligibility off-campus (and eligibility for a Post-Graduate Work Permit), most students must be enrolled full-time (9 credits minimum) for the Winter and Fall semesters unless it is your last semester. PDD and certificate students (excluding Early Childhood Education Certificate students) must also be enrolled full-time during summer semester. See table above. 

For other programs including ELLA, there is NO minimum enrollment requirement for Summer semester. Students may enrol as PT, FT, or take the Summer semester off.

Eligible students can work up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions once you have commenced your program of study. During scheduled breaks eligible students can work full-time regardless of your course load.

Working with a Co-op Work Permit

Co-op work permit is a work permit that allows a student to work more than the working hours (on or off-campus work) authorized by a study permit.  

Who needs a co-op work permit? 

Group A. Students who are accepted into a Co-op Education Program at Ƶ(check Career Centre for more details on application for this program) or students who will register in COBA 4885 to complete their program. 

Group B. Students whose programs require them to finish a practicum/internship/working hours to graduate. 

How do you apply for a co-op work permit? 

For group A (students in Co-op Education Program or COBA 4885 students) 

  1. Contact Career Centre to learn details about how you can apply to the co-op program or contact your program coordinator/chair for approval to register in COBA 4885; 
  2. Once you are admitted in the co-op program or approved to register in COBA 4885, Career Centre will share the list of participating students with ƵInternational for us to issue you the co-op support letters. You DO NOT need to request this letter from us.  

For group B (students whose programs require practicum/internship/working hours to graduate) 

  1. You should apply for your co-op work permit along with your initial study permit application. Make sure your LOA has such working requirement mentioned in Box 24 on your Letter of Acceptance (LOA). You should indicate that work is an essential part of your studies in the Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) questionnaire (see the guide for more instructions) and submit your LOA as a proof for co-op letter in the application. 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 did not receive a co-op work permit and you have already commenced your studies at Douglas, you should contact us.  
  3. If you changed your program to a program that requires to finish a practicum/internship/working hours to graduate, please make sure you request a LOA for this new program. You should indicate that work is an essential part of your studies in the IRCC questionnaire (see the guide for more instructions) and submit your LOA as a proof for co-op letter in the application.  

Application Guides 

Ƶ - Application guide

Douglas College - Questionnaire guide įį&Բ;

Ƶ - IMM 5710 form guide  įį&Բ;

Application Fee 


What do you need to know about this co-op work permit? 

  1. You need to hold a co-op work permit before you start working on the practicum/internship/working hours required by your program. 
  2. The work permit issued to you by IRCC will ONLY authorize you to work for these specific internship hours and no other types of work (i.e. regular on/off Campus work).   
  3. To perform the required working by your program, you may work full-time during the semester while holding a co-op work permit. However, it is important that you track your hours regularly. When you reach the required amount of work, you must stop using the co-op work permit. įį&Բ;
  4. If you decide to continue for the same employer after completing the required amount, you must follow your off-campus working eligibility hours (i.e. maximum 20 hours per week during an academic semester, see more details under Working Off-Campus) - you still need to meet all Ƶ and IRCC requirements.   
  5. As a study permit holder, you are required to be actively pursuing your studies toward successful completion of your program and your focus should be on your studies - not working.   
  6. You may also need a medical exam for this co-op work permit application. Please check  for more details or contact us through webform
Frequently Asked Questions

You may work full-time off-campus for up to 150 days from the date of your completion letter until the start of the new program only if:

  • met the eligibility requirements to work off campus as per Paragraph R
  • have received the completion letter for the first program,
  • have submitted an application to extend your study permit before it expires, or have a valid study permit,
  • have been issued a letter of acceptance to a subsequent program of full-time study at a DLI

*If your new program starts more than 150 days after the completion of your first program, you should leave Canada until your new program begins or apply to change to visitor status.

ELLA students are NOT eligible for working off campus until you commence your academic program.

Yes, unpaid internship/practicum still counts as work.  defines work as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.

[NEW] Thinking about the Summer 2024 enrolment and your working eligibility? Use our Form to learn more!
This questionnaire assumes you are taking courses exclusively at Ƶ. This form is intended for general inquiries only and should not be used as legal immigration document. This form should not be used by Early Childhood Education Certificate students. The burden of proof is on the student to comply with the conditions of your study permit and to ensure your eligibility and compliance.