Achieve your Canadian dreams: 15 work and study programmes that offer a path to permanent residency

work and study in Canada
Source: Marvin Recinos/AFP

Many international students dream to work and study in Canada. For many, it’s good news that it is highly possible to do so. 

International students are allowed to work while they study — but only if their study permit says they can.

Most international students will find that their study permit lets them work while studying.

But there are some categories of students who cannot. For example, those on authorised leave from their studies, switching schools or not studying cannot work.

Sometimes, your study permit states you can’t work but you may be able to apply to get this amended.

You may have seen many friends and family hyping up the chance to work and study in Canada — and you may just be left a little confused.

Why are people so excited over this? Wouldn’t it leave you with less time to go travelling around the country and experience life to the fullest?

Wouldn’t it make you rush to complete homework and assignments? It sounds like a lot more stress, especially if you don’t need the salary earned. So, what’s the hype all about?

Why work and study in Canada? 

work and study in Canada

Work and study in Canada and you may earn enough points to become a permanent resident in the future. Source: Daniel Slim/AFP

International students gain a lot of benefits if they choose to work and study in Canada. 

A job often comes with good pay, which can go a long way in helping budget-strapped students pay for rent (which can be expensive in big cities), food, transport, entertainment, and more.

To help international students save more, some universities and colleges offer tuition fee waivers. Below are universities you can apply to for free under certain conditions: 

But a salary is not the only perk. Working in Canada gives you insight into what the professional world is like.

It gives you “Canadian experience,” which future employers may require when you apply to them for a job as a graduate.

Then there are all the soft skills you stand to gain. You’ll learn how to manage time, become independent, communicate with locals, solve problems, and more.

All of this will be handy when you’re looking for a job once you graduate. You’ll be able to show you have Canadian work experience and some of the most in-demand skills companies need today.

This gives you a higher chance of getting hired, which then puts you in the running to earn enough points to get permanent residency through the Express Entry pathway.

The main types of work and study in Canada

Students can choose to work on-campus, off-campus, or opt for a co-op or internship placement.

On Oct. 7, 2022, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that international students can now work more than 20 hours per week, CIC News reported. 

This temporary measure ending Dec. 31, 2023 allows students to work more than 20 hours per week off campus during the semester if:

  • You are a study permit holder and are studying at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) full-time (or part-time during your final academic session) OR
  • Have been approved for a study permit but haven’t arrived in Canada yet

During scheduled breaks such as winter and summer holidays in the school year, students are allowed to work full-time.

You are also free to work overtime or work two part-time jobs that add up to a higher than usual number of hours. 

There is no set number of hours per week that counts as “full-time” work.

Do note that only full-time students both before and after the break are allowed to work full-time. You can’t work during a break that comes before you start your very first school semester.

work and study in Canada

International students studying in Canada have the flexibility to work both on- and off-campus during their studies. Source: Cindy Ord/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Work and study in Canada: 15 highest-paying part-time jobs

5 best part-time on-campus jobs

International students are allowed to work on campus (for unlimited hours) provided they meet the requirements to work in Canada.

The best thing about finding a part-time job on campus is that you don’t need a work permit (as long as you’re enrolled in the uni).

Compared to an off-campus job, you can save time and travel costs while getting paid to be an active participant in the campus community.

Take the University of British Columbia, for instance. Students here have various opportunities to earn money on campus.

UBC students can look for employment opportunities at the student society, Alma Mater Society (AMS) or the UBC Library.

Jobs include:

5 best part-time jobs off-campus

Working off-campus is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

You will get to network with your local community and gain a “Canadian experience” while also getting to make new connections beyond people on campus.

Here are five of the best off-campus jobs for international students:

  • Nanny — CA$14 per hour
  • Tutor — CA$15 per hour
  • Server — CA$15.20 per hour
  • Sales assistant — CA$17 per hour
  • Dog walker US$20 per hour

5 best co-op jobs for international students

Some courses require students to include work experience through a co-op or internship, as part of their curriculum.

It’s different from other on-campus and off-campus jobs as it’s related to what you study. But it’s similar to the above in the sense that you still have to apply and compete for them.

A co-op position is not guaranteed and you may have to go through a lot of interviews and rejections before you land one.

According to the University of Waterloo’s website, you stand to earn between US$8,400 and US$19,800 per work term in Canada.

Past students have worked in a wide range of companies, big and small, that includes the likes of:

  • Amnesty International Canada
  • Apple
  • Bloomberg
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Ford Motor Company of Canada
  • Google
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Microsoft Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • United Nations Association in Canada

15 most affordable degree programmes to work and study in Canada

Canada is going through a major labour shortage and is seeking migrants, including international students, to fill these gaps. In-demand jobs include: 

  • Registered nurses 
  • Web developers 
  • Mechanical and electrical engineers
  • Pharmacist
  • Accountant 

If you’re considering permanently settling down in Canada, here are 15 programmes that’ll maximise your chances of landing a job after graduation thus paving the way towards a PR.

Cheapest universities for nursing courses:

  1. University of Prince Edward Island — CA$6,570 (US$4,795.94)
  2. University of Ottawa CA$16,053.49 (US$11,718.65)
  3. University of Manitoba — CA$20,600 (US$15,037.48)

Cheapest universities for computer science courses:

  1. University of Prince Edward Island CA$14,274 (US$10,468.77)
  2. Conestoga College — CA$$18,443.50 (US$13,526.74)
  3. University of New Brunswick (Fredericton campus) CA$20,829 (US$15,276.30)

Cheapest universities for electrical and mechanical engineering:

  1. University of Saskatchewan— CA$35,071 (US$25,721.60)
  2. Dalhousie University — CA$40,800 (US$29, 923.33)
  3. University of Alberta — CA$42,707.40 (US$31,322.25)

Cheapest universities for pharmacy:

  1. University of Waterloo — CA$30,720.00 (US$22,530.51)
  2. University of British Columbia — CA$46,296 (US$33,954.18)
  3. University of Toronto — CA$47,120 (US$34,558.51)

Cheapest universities for accountancy:

  1. University of Guelph — CA$18,554.18 (US$13,649.10)
  2. University of Calgary (Haskayne School of Business) — CA$27,898 (US$20,522.75)
  3. Bow Valley College — CA$33,250 (US$24,459.86)

Common questions about work and study in Canada

1. Can I convert my student visa to work visa in Canada?

Yes, students are allowed to convert their student visa into a Canadian work visa.

The most common pathway is to apply for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) and the validity of your PGWP is dependent on the length of your study.

Read here for more information.

2. What are the top five jobs in Canada?

According to Ranstad, the top five highest-paying jobs in Canada for 2023 are:

  • Full stack developer — CA$85,000 annually
  • Financial analyst — between CA$80,000 to CA$120,000 annually
  • HR manager — CA$83,00 annually
  • Millwright between CA$50,000 at the entry-level and CA$95,000 for a more senior position
  • Production supervisor — CA$65,000 annually

3. Can I convert my Canada work permit to PR?

Yes, those on temporary work permits are able to apply for PR. There are four main ways to do this:

Temporary worker will have to meet the necessary points required under the Foreign Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP).

Points are awarded based on factors such as the applicant’s education, age, language skills and the job offer.

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a popular option for those temporary workers who do not meet the points required the federal skilled worker program.

Applicants are required to at least two years of work experience in Canada or, have completed post-secondary studies in Canada and have one year of work experience.

The NEP programme is for temporary workers who want to have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory, intend to live in that province and want to become permanent residents.

If you are a foreign student who is a Québec graduate or a temporary foreign worker, the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program) is for you.

The QEC allows you to settle in Québec permanently.

Applicants under the QEC must have worked in Quebec in a skilled position for at least a year and they must speak French at an intermediate level.

4. How can I stay in Canada after my work permit expires?

If your Canadian work permit is expiring, you can request to apply to restore it in the first 90 days after it expires.

Doing so allows you to stay in the country until further instructions have been given. This means, however, you are not allowed to continue working until you receive a restored work permit.

Do note that there is no guarantee that your application will be approved.

In the case that your request gets rejected, you are expected to leave Canada immediately when your work permit expires.

Find out how to restore your work permit.

5. How many times can I extend my work permit in Canada?

Canadian temporary work permits are usually valid for one to two years.

There is no limit on the number of times a permit can be extended, should the individual continue to meet the eligibility conditions.

Read here for more information about how to change or extend your temporary work permit.