Regulation 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that a foreign national may work off campus if:
(v) if they are the holder of a study permit and
(i) they are a full-time student enrolled at a designated learning institution as defined in section 211.1,
(ii) the program in which they are enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec, in each case, of a duration of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, and
(iii) although they are permitted to engage in full-time work during a regularly scheduled break between academic sessions, they work no more than 20 hours per week during a regular academic session;
In brief, international students can work can work part time (up to 20 hours a week) during a regular academic session and full time during regularly scheduled breaks between academic sessions.
According to the IRCC Guidelines, international students can work off campus without a permit, provided that all of the following statements are true:
- they hold a valid study permit
- they are full-time students enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- the program in which they are enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec
- the program of study is at least 6 months in duration and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
An academic program is defined as a post-secondary program that awards academic credentials to persons for whom the normal entrance requirement is high school completion or higher.Read more ›
Regulation 215 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations states that:
215 (1) A foreign national may apply for a study permit after entering Canada if they
(a) hold a study permit;
(b) apply within the period beginning 90 days before the expiry of their authorization to engage in studies in Canada under subsection 30(2) of the Act, or paragraph 188(1)(a) of these Regulations, and ending 90 days after that expiry;
(c) hold a work permit;
(d) are subject to an unenforceable removal order;
(e) hold a temporary resident permit issued under subsection 24(1) of the Act that is valid for at least six months;
(f) are a temporary resident who
(i) is studying at the preschool, primary or secondary level,
(ii) is a visiting or exchange student who is studying at a designated learning institution, or
(iii) has completed a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to their enrolling at a designated learning institution; or
(g) are in a situation described in section 207.
Regulation 215(f)(iii) has been the subject of judicial scrutinity.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Guidelines state:
Prerequisite course or program of study in Canada before the main program of study
As of June 1, 2014, visitors in Canada who have completed a course or program of study that was previously identified as a prerequisite for their admission into a program of study at a DLI may also apply for a study permit from within Canada [R215(1)(f)(iii)] if they provide both
- a letter of acceptance received from a DLI before or after the completion of the prerequisite course that confirms the course is a prerequisite for admission to the main program
- proof of successful completion of the prerequisite course,
Last updated on December 12th, 2019
Regulation 220.1(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that the holder of a study permit in Canada (a) shall enroll at a designated learning institution and remain enrolled at a designated learning institution until they complete their studies and (b) shall actively pursue their course or program of study.
Non-compliance with this requirement can, subject to certain exceptions that are beyond the scope of this post, result in a person being barred from Canada for one year.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) website contains guidelines (the “Guidelines”) on interpreting these requirements.
The guidelines are divided into the following sections:
- Full-time and part-time studies
- Progress toward completion of courses
- Changing institutions or changing programs of study at the same institution
- D. Leave from studies
- E. Deferred enrollment
- F. School closures
- G. Change of status
- H. Spouses or common-law partners of full-time students (C42)
- I. Children of full-time students
- J. Working on or off campus not authorized during any leave from studies
- K. Co-op and internship placements not authorized during any leave from studies
I have reproduced or paraphrased much of the Guidelines below. At the end of this post I have summarized Federal Court of Canada jurisprudence on the matter.
A. Full-time and part-time studies
The Guidelines state that at a minimum, students must have part-time status with their institution to be considered to be actively pursuing their studies.Read more ›
Last updated on March 19th, 2021
Generally, to be eligible for a study permit, a potential student must:
- present a letter of acceptance from the educational institution where she intends to study. This school must be a Designated Learning Institution;
- be able to both pay the tuition fees of the program as well as be able to financially support themselves and any accompanying financial members. Depending on the person’s country of origin, they may be required to take out a GIC with a designated Canadian bank;
- be able to cover the cost of transportation to and from Canada;
- pass any medical examinations;
- possibly show proof of health insurance;
- demonstrate that they are a bona fide student and that they will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized by their stay. .
Not every student needs a study permit. Exempt students include:
- persons seeking to study for a short-term program (unless they wish to work on campus).
- minor students in Canada.
The following chart obtained through an Access to Information request shows the CIC approval rate for study permit applications based on certain countries of origin from 2009 – 2013.
Another ATI shows the breakdown of approvals for India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam broken down by level of study, gender, age, and whether the person applied online or in person.
A more recent ATI request shows the monthly 2019-2020 (Oct) approval statistics based on country and proposed program of study.
Finally, here is the breakdown of approvals for 2016 –Read more ›
Last updated on July 10th, 2020
One of the more common reasons for a study permit application to be refused is because a visa officer determines that an applicant’s proposed program of study in Canada is unreasonable given the applicant’s background. The wording of such refusals varies, but it typically includes statements about how an individual could study in a similar program for a cheaper cost in their country of residence, or that there is no logical academic progression given their previous studies.
The following is an example of such a refusal.
Visa officers have the authority to determine whether a study permit applicant’s proposed program of study is reasonable. It is reasonable for an officer to find that an intended program does not accord with an applicant’s previous academic history. Officers can also question applicants who are abruptly changing career paths.
However, the decisions of visa officers must demonstrate that all evidence of applicants was considered. Where they do not, the decisions will be unreasonable.
For example, in Taiwo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), Justice Shore stated that:
The Officer should not have doubted the Applicant’s explanations regarding his change of career path. The Applicant first studied in Sociology from 1995 to 2000, even though from 2004 to 2012, he has been employed as a Financial Officer and a Financial Manager. In 2012, the Applicant became the Financial Director at Tropical Spectrum BDC Ltd., a family owned business by the Applicant himself, in which he owns the majority of the shares of the company. The business is currently still running, recognizing that it is the Applicant’s wife, as stated in her sworn affidavit of financial support that she will take care of the company during the absence of her husband.Read more ›
On July 31, 2018 Canada is imposing new biometric requirements on individuals wishing to visit Canada.
Biometrics refers to the taking of fingerprints and a photograph.
Biometrics collection is being expanded to include all persons (with certain exemptions) applying for temporary or permanent residence, including all those applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit.
The Government of Canada is also introducing systematic fingerprint verification for all biometrically enrolled travellers at Canada’s major airports and expand fingerprint verification capacity at additional ports of entry.
Finally, Canada will enhance biometric information sharing between Canada and the United States and introduce biometric information sharing with other the Migration 5 partners, which are Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The change is part of a worldwide trend. More than 70 countries worldwide have implemented or are planning to implement biometrics in their immigration and border programs, including allies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union.
Who is Required to Provide Biometrics
Since 2013, citizens of 29 visa-required countries and one territory have been required to provide biometrics. Biometrics have also been collected from overseas refugee resettlement applicants since late 2014.
As of July 31, 2018, subject to certain exceptions, all persons applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or refugee protection, whether claimed inside or outside Canada, must provide biometrics.
There are numerous exceptions.
First, Americans are exempted.
Second, a person who is eligible to apply for an electronic travel authorization (an “eTA”), rather than a temporary resident visa, is not required to provide their biometrics if they are travelling to Canada as a tourist.Read more ›
Last updated on March 27th, 2021
Foreign nationals are required to obtain a study permit for engaging in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training that is more than six months in duration at a designated learning institution (“DLI“) in Canada.
So what does this mean, and who doesn’t need a study permit?
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act“) provides that every minor child in Canada, other than a child of a temporary resident not authorized to work or study, is authorized to study at the pre-school, primary or secondary level.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) further provide that a foreign national does not need a study permit to study in the following circumstances:
(a) if they are a family member or a member of the private staff of a foreign representative who is properly accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and who is in Canada to carry out official duties as a diplomatic agent, consular officer, representative or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies or of any international organization of which Canada is a member;
(b) as a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act, including a person who has been designated as a civilian component of those armed forces;
(c) if the duration of their course or program of studies is six months or less and will be completed within the period for their stay authorized upon entry into Canada; or
(d) if they are an Indian.
There is alot of confusion regarding whether people can complete short-term courses in Canada without a study permit.Read more ›
On February 12, 2014, the Government of Canada stated that it had made regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) which will take affect on June 1, 2014. The changes will alter Canada’s international student landscape.
The new rules are being introduced because the Government of Canada has been concerned that some educational institutions have been taking advantage of international students. (One of my biggest annoyances is meeting with international students who state that their private post-secondary schools misled them into thinking that they would be eligible for post-graduate work permits.) The government has even suspected some educational institutes are little more than “visa mills” whose primary purpose is to get students work permits. As well, there has been an increasing tendency of internationals students using study permits as a means to enter Canada for purposes other than study, including employment, and, allegedly, criminal purposes. Canada’s reputable post-secondary institutions, which have to compete for the best and brightest international students, have been unamused with how some of the unscrupulous behaviour has impacted their ability to market.
The changes are:
New regulations, as of June 1, 2014
Applicants must show that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit.
Applicants must enrol in and actively pursue their course of studies in Canada. The failure of a study permit holder to do so could lead to removal from Canada. The Government of Canada has amended IRPR s. 228 so that inadmissibility reports based on international students not actively pursuing studies in Canada do not require a referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board. Instead, an officer can directly issue an Exclusion Order. There are several exceptions to this removal possibility, including study permit holders who possess study permits because they are the family members of foreign workers, » Read more about: Study Permit Regulations to be Overhauled June 1, 2014 »
A reader sent me a digital photograph of a sign allegedly posted at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. As the PAFSO job action continues, the implications for prospective international students is become quite serious. I can’t even guess on how post-secondary institutions are preparing and mitigating.Read more ›
The Government of Canada has introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations which will restrict which schools are eligible to have international students study at them. Effective January 1, 2014, the issuance of study permits will be limited to international students attending designated learning institutions.
Currently, most provinces and territories have a mix of public educational institutions, private degree-granting institutions, and private non-degree-granting career colleges. The latter are subject to varying degrees of regulations, and private language schools are generally not regulated at all. Previously, any of these institutions could host international students on study permits. Under the new regulations, however, only students attending designated institutions can receive study permits.
Designated institutions include:
- a learning institution that is administered by a federal department or agency;
- if a province has entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in respect of learning institutions that host international students, a learning institution in Canada that is designated by that province under the agreement; and
- if a province has not entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in respect of learning institutions that host international students, then any of the following:
- a public post-secondary learning institution in Canada that is recognized by the province,
- in the case of Quebec, a private post-secondary learning institution in Quebec that operates under the same rules and regulations as public post-secondary learning institutions in Quebec,
- a private post-secondary learning institution in Canada that is recognized by the province and that is authorized by the province to confer degrees, but only in the case where the foreign national in question is enrolled in a program of study that leads to a degree as authorized by the province,
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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