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Work in Canada - Frequently Asked Questions

 

On and Off Campus Work

1. I will complete my program in the Winter term, however my study permit only expires at the end of the summer. Can I work in the summer until the expiry of my study permit?

No. If you were always enrolled full-time (except for your final term), you may work an unlimited amount of hours on-campus and/or a maximum of 20h/week off-campus until you receive proof of program completion (i.e., the proof of graduation letter available on Minerva after Senate meets to grant your degree OR the special letter of program completion from Service Point before Senate meets). Once you receive proof of program completion, you are no longer authorized to work on the basis of your study permit*.

*Students who meet all the PGWP eligibility requirements may be eligible to begin to work after submitting an application for the PGWP and for the entire time their PGWP application is pending.

2. I don't have a Social Insurance Number and Service Canada Offices are closed. How can I get one?

Service Canada is now processing SINs online. Please visit the Service Canada website to apply online.

3. How many hours can I work as an international student during an academic term?

Full-time students* are authorized to work in Canada full-time on-campus and part-time off-campus (up to a maximum of 20hrs per week) during an academic term. Exceptionally, students who are part-time in their final term but have been full-time in every previous term are authorized to work full-time on-campus and part-time off-campus in their final academic term before graduating.

*For undergraduate and non-thesis graduate students, full-time means you are enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits per academic term. PhD and Masters thesis students are considered full-time in every semester of their program, including the Summer term, regardless of the number of credits they are taking.

4. I am currently outside of Canada. How many hours can I work while I am outside of Canada?

If you are outside of Canada, you are not restricted to the limits defined by Canadian immigration regulations regarding on-campus and off-campus work. You must, however, respect the allowable hours of work in the country where you are currently residing.

5. I'm about to complete my program. Can I work after the end of my final semester of studies?

It depends. If you were enrolled full-time in every term except your last term, you can continue to work full-time on campus and/or part-time off-campus (maximum of 20 hours per week) after the end of your final semester until the first date you receive written confirmation from McGill that you have complete your program. Once you receive written proof of program completion, you must then stop all work activity – whether or not this work is paid or unpaid.

You can start working full-time on campus and/or off-campus:

  • After you have obtained your PGWP; or
  • As soon as you have submitted an online PGWP application as long as you meet certain conditions. These conditions include holding a valid study permit at the time of application, having been full-time throughout your studies, with the exception of your final term of studies, and having respected the allowable hours of work during your studies.

6. Can I take less than 12 credits per term and study part-time?

Under the current conditions for CAQ holders, international students must make their studies their principal activity. This means that in order to respect your CAQ conditions, you must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of your program, with the exception of your last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements to work on-campus and off-campus, international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP), international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

We, therefore, recommend that all international students maintain full-time student status for the duration of their program with the exception of their last term, so as not to compromise their ability to extend their CAQ, maintain authorization to work on and off-campus or their eligibility for the PGWP.

If you must be part-time due to extenuating circumstances such as health issues or a family emergency, please contact us so that we may best advise you. You may also wish to review our part-time studies information sheet.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

1. Some of my studies at McGill were or will have been completed online from outside Canada. Am I still be eligible for the PGWP?

YES. You can complete up to 100% of your studies online from outside Canada and remain eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Normally, time spent studying outside of Canada is deducted from the length of the PGWP and only online courses completed from within Canada (less than 50% of your program) can count towards the total length of the program when determining the length of the PGWP.

However, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions, IRCC announced a series of new facilitative measures that allow students who were forced to begin their program, continue their studies, or complete their program remotely from outside Canada to maintain their post-graduation work permit eligibility.

As per IRCC’s most recent update to their PGWP facilitative measures:

All of the time you spent studying online from outside Canada between spring 2020 and August 31, 2022, counts toward the length of a PGWP. This applies even if you’re completing 2 study programs.

If you’re completing 2 study programs, you can finish 100% of your studies online if the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and summer 2022, and


The following time won’t count toward the length of a PGWP:

  • time spent studying outside Canada after August 31, 2022
  • time spent studying before you applied for a study permit


NOTE: Only the time you spent studying outside of Canada after IRCC received your study permit application counts towards the length of your PGWP and your study permit application must be also be approved.

2. I applied for my PGWP and the application is still pending. I was not always enrolled full-time in every semester of my program (excluding my final term) but received an Acknowledgement of Receipt letter from IRCC stating that I can work until X date while my application is pending. Am I authorized to work while my PGWP application is pending?

No. In order to work while your PGWP application is pending, you must meet certain conditions. If you do not meet all of these conditions, then you cannot work while your application is pending even if you receive the IRCC Acknowledgement of Receipt letter stating that you can work.

3. The Acknowledgement of Receipt letter I received from IRCC states that I can work until X date while my PGWP application is pending. After this date, do I have to stop working while I wait for my PGWP to be processed?

In order to work while your PGWP application is pending, you must meet certain conditions. If you meet all these conditions, you can work while your PGWP application is pending. Concerning the date included in the Acknowledgement of Receipt letter, IRCC has confirmed that:

Officers should understand that the validity date of the letter in no way overrides the authority of paragraph R186(w), which allows foreign nationals who meet the requirements to continue working until a final decision is made on their work permit application

In other words, if you meet all the PGWP eligibility requirements, you may continue to work for the entire time your PGWP application is pending, regardless of the date indicated on your Acknowledgement of Receipt letter. For more information, please see IRCC’s website.

4. I began/completed a program at McGill, online, from inside Canada in Summer/Fall 2020, Winter/Fall 2021, or Winter 2022. Am I still eligible for PGWP?

Yes. Normally, if more than 50% of a student’s program of study’s total courses are completed by distance learning (online) from inside Canada, the program may be considered a distance-learning or online program, and the applicant would be ineligible for a post-graduation work permit.

However, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing public health restrictions, IRCC has announced a series of new facilitative measures that allow students who were forced to begin their program, continue their studies, or complete their program online from inside Canada to maintain their post-graduation work permit eligibility even if they complete more than 50% of their program online.

As stated on IRCC’s website, these facilitative measures for students studying online from Canadainclude the following:

If you’re inside Canada

You’re still eligible for the PGWP if either of the following situations apply to you:

  • Your in-person classes in Canada have been moved to an online-only format and you are taking your classes online because of COVID-19.
    • It’s highly recommended that you attend in-class options when offered.
  • You had to put your studies on hold, or study part-time, during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters because of COVID-19.

NOTE: As of the Fall 2020 semester, you must be studying full-time to be eligible.

5. I will be applying for my Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) while on maintained status. Can I work in Canada while my application is processing?

No. If you apply for your PGWP while on a maintained status (i.e., while you are awaiting the decision on your study permit extension application), you are not currently authorized to work while the PGWP application is processing – even if you otherwise meet the conditions to work after you submit a PGWP application.

6. I am applying for my PGWP and am required to submit my official transcript. How can I ensure my transcript will be considered "official"?

Now that Service Point has resumed the issuance of official printed transcripts, you have two options when applying for your PGWP online.

You can either submit a scanned copy of your official printed transcripts (you can request your official printed transcripts via Service Point's dedicated webformOR a copy of your official eTranscript (order an electronic official transcript).

If you choose to submit a copy of your official eTranscript instead of a scanned copy of your printed transcript, we recommend that you include cover letter explaining that you are providing a copy of the electronic version of the official transcript instead of a scanned copy of the printed official transcript. 

NOTE: it is possible that the "COPY" watermark will appear on the eTranscript when you combine the eTranscript with other documents into one PDF, when you save the eTranscript to your computer, and/or when the immigration agent opens the file. You should mention this possibility in your cover letter and also ensure that you view/save your eTranscript according to the instructions provided by the National Student Clearinghouse when you order your eTranscript.

You should create one pdf document (that includes your Cover Letter and eTranscript) and upload the document in the “Transcript” section of your Document Checklist.

IMPORTANT: If you will be applying for your PGWP at a Port of Entry (i.e., land border, or airport for those applicants who are visa-exempt), you MUST bring a copy of your official printed transcript issued by Service Point. You can request your official printed transcripts via Service Point's dedicated webform.

7. I'm about to complete my program. Can I work after the end of my final semester of studies?

It depends. If you were enrolled full-time in every term except your last term, you can continue to work full-time on campus and/or part-time off-campus (maximum of 20 hours per week) after the end of your final semester until the first date you receive written confirmation from McGill that you have complete your program. Once you receive written proof of program completion, you must then stop all work activity – whether or not this work is paid or unpaid.

You can start working full-time on campus and/or off-campus:

  • After you have obtained your PGWP; or
  • As soon as you have submitted an online PGWP application as long as you meet certain conditions. These conditions include holding a valid study permit at the time of application, having been full-time throughout your studies, with the exception of your final term of studies, and having respected the allowable hours of work during your studies.

8. Can I take less than 12 credits per term and study part-time?

Under the current conditions for CAQ holders, international students must make their studies their principal activity. This means that in order to respect your CAQ conditions, you must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of your program, with the exception of your last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements to work on-campus and off-campus, international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP), international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

We, therefore, recommend that all international students maintain full-time student status for the duration of their program with the exception of their last term, so as not to compromise their ability to extend their CAQ, maintain authorization to work on and off-campus or their eligibility for the PGWP.

If you must be part-time due to extenuating circumstances such as health issues or a family emergency, please contact us so that we may best advise you. You may also wish to review our part-time studies information sheet.

Co-Op Work Permit

1. Can I complete my program's mandatory co-op/internship from outside of Canada?

If you will be completing a mandatory internship outside of Canada, you do not need a Coop Work Permit to do so. However, please check with your program coordinator prior to accepting any offers to ensure your internship is approved for credit.

2. I am in Canada and have applied for my co-op work permit. I still have not received it and my co-op/internship starts soon. Can I start to work?

It depends. IRCC’s Students – Work: COVID-19 program delivery instructions state:

"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.

Students may work full-time on the campus of the university or college at which they are a full-time student per [R186(f)]. For off-campus work authorization per [R186(v)], 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). They can work full-time during scheduled breaks in the school year.

However, if the co-op application is refused, they must stop working immediately."

Therefore, if your co-op work permit application is pending and you are registered full-time you may work on your mandatory co-op/internship, however, you must respect the on-campus and off-campus work regulations. This means, you are authorized to work unlimited hours on-campus and up to a maximum of 20 hours per week, in total, off-campus - including your internship and any other off-campus employment you may have.

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