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  • Writer's pictureCalver Immigration Consulting Inc.

Working Full-Time on a Canadian Study Permit

Non-Compliance Case Study

If you are an international student in Canada and you want to work while you study, you must follow certain rules and standards. One of our clients found himself at risk of jeopardizing his Express Entry application for Permanent Residency because he violated the terms of his study permit by working too many hours.

As such, many of our international student clients also ask us: How many hours can international students work in Canada? We answer this and more in our case study today.


A client who graduated one year ago came to our office to seek advice. He applied for his post-graduation work permit in June 2016 and is completing 1 year of Canadian Experience Class (CEC). However, he has been working full time for the employer since November 2015, while he was still a student. Therefore, he failed to comply with all conditions of his study permit and worked in excess.

  • How does his non-compliance as a student affect his application?

  • Is it reasonable to ask him to leave Canada for 6 months and then apply?

  • Is there any suggestion to overcome this and avoid refusal of his Express Entry?


In this situation, he violated the conditions of his study permit by working excess hours over what was permitted. International students are permitted to work part-time while school is in session and full-time hours only during scheduled breaks. Since he violated this condition, it means he fell under s.41 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

In the case of a person who performed an unauthorized work activity but who now claims to no longer be in a state of non-compliance because the work activity has ceased, these persons are and will remain reportable for non-compliance for the duration of their current stay in Canada. During the period of their current stay in Canada, they violated a condition or other requirement of the Act; namely, they were not in possession of a work permit nor were they authorized to work.

This suggests that if the person stopped his/her non-compliance and left Canada, s.41 no longer applies to them. I would wonder in this particular case if the person left Canada and re-entered at any time after the previous period of unauthorized work. Even if not, by leaving Canada now and applying from abroad, it would cure the prior non-compliance.

That said, my concern about a finding of non-compliance is secondary to the possible issue of misrepresentation. This client applied for and received a post-graduate work permit after completing their studies. In the work permit application, the client would have had to answer the question of whether (s)he ever worked or studied illegally in Canada in the past. The client would have had to answer “no” to that question in order to be granted the PGWP; otherwise, they would have had a 6-month ban on getting a work permit.

Remember that R200(3)(e)(i) states as follows: (3) An officer shall not issue a work permit to a foreign national if

(e) the foreign national has engaged in unauthorized study or work in Canada or has failed to comply with a condition of a previous permit or authorization unless

(i) a period of six months has elapsed since the cessation of the unauthorized work or study or failure to comply with a condition.

If this is the case, you might have a more serious problem on your hands, because the client is guilty of more than non-compliance - they have compounded it with misrepresentation on the work permit which is currently held. In this case, I would discuss this with the client to determine if that is the case.

Disclosing the full history on a future application for permanent residence would potentially bring to light both the non-compliance and the misrepresentation, and the client would be taking risks of which they'd need to be fully informed before proceeding.

An application for a visa abroad, or for entry into Canada at a port of entry may be denied based on a misrepresentation made in connection with the current application or examination only unless the person was previously the subject of a refusal for misrepresentation and the resulting two-year inadmissibility period has not elapsed.

As a final word on this issue, it is also important to keep in mind that according to the CEC and Express Entry regulations, the client cannot rely on any work experience that was gained while working as a student, so be careful not to improperly claim credit for that experience.


How many hours can international students work in Canada?

Now that we’ve explored what can happen in the case that you work too much on a study permit in Canada, we will explain the requirements for working while on a study permit. If your work permit includes a condition that says you can work on- or off-campus, you can work part-time for up to 20 hours a week on your study permit.

You are a full-time post-secondary student at a:

  • public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec, or

  • private college-level school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools, and is at least 50% funded by government grants, or

  • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law

  • You have a valid study permit that says you can work

  • You have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

You have a valid study permit that includes a condition that says you can work off-campus

  • You’re a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)

  • You’re enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only)

  • You’ve started studying

  • Your study program is at least 6 months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate

  • You have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)


Do I need a work permit as an international student in Canada?

There are certain situations in which international students must have a work permit. If your program requires you to take part in a co-op or internship program, for example, then you will need to apply for a work permit. You also must apply for a post-graduation work permit in order to work in Canada after your studies.

If you’re considering studying abroad in Canada, you should download our Canada Student Visa Checklist.


Our Services

Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.

We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.

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