Transitioning from a study permit to a work permit in Canada is a common path for international students who wish to work and settle in the country. In this article, we will explore the process of changing your study permit to a work permit and the different options available depending on your circumstances.
For those currently enrolled in full-time studies at a Canadian educational institution, there is an opportunity to work while studying. Study permit holders are now allowed to work more than 20 hours per week, either on or off-campus. It is important to ensure that your study permit indicates that you are authorized to work in Canada. If not, you can apply to have it amended. Some educational programs in Canada require students to complete a co-op or internship work placement, which allows them to work full-time for part of their studies.
After completing your studies at a designated learning institution (DLI), you may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit. This permit is not tied to any specific employer, occupation, or location, making it an open work permit. With an open work permit, you have the flexibility to work in any role and anywhere in Canada. The post-graduation work permit can be issued for up to three years and must be applied for within 180 days of completing your studies. You can submit the application from either overseas or within Canada.
However, if you decide to stop studying in Canada before completing your credential, obtaining a work permit will require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in some cases. This means finding a valid Canadian job offer from an employer who is willing to support your work permit application by securing an LMIA. A closed LMIA work permit is tied to a specific employer, role, and location, limiting your mobility compared to an open work permit.
It is important to note that once you stop studying, your study permit will no longer be valid. In this case, you must inform Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you are terminating your studies. If you do not have status in Canada, you will need to leave the country while waiting for your work permit application to process.
For international students who are interested in transitioning to Canadian permanent residency, there are options available. It is recommended to complete a free online assessment form to learn more about these options and determine the best path forward.
Transitioning from a study permit to a work permit in Canada offers great opportunities for international students to gain Canadian work experience and potentially settle in the country. Whether you choose to work while studying, apply for a post-graduation work permit, or obtain a work permit before completing your studies, it is important to understand the requirements and processes involved. By staying informed and following the necessary steps, you can navigate the transition successfully and make the most of your time in Canada.