The Government of Canada’s revised process has made hiring international students and graduates simple for employers. It requires no commitment, sponsorship or laborious bureaucratic processes on the employer's part.

The following resources are designed to help simplify the regulatory landscape. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC.)

Frequently asked questions

Hiring international students while they study

Yes! International students with valid study permits may be eligible to work without a separate work permit. If eligible, the authorization to work will be printed directly on their study permit.

You can ask to see a copy of their study permit to make sure their document hasn’t expired and for an enrolment letter to make sure they’re studying full-time in a credential-leading program that’s at least six months long.

International students can work off-campus:

  • Part-time during academic sessions
  • Up to full-time during scheduled breaks (for example, summer break, winter holidays and reading week.) During these breaks, they can work overtime or two part-time jobs that add up to a higher-than-usual number of hours. It is the student’s responsibility to know when their scheduled breaks are.

International students may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week during academic sessions under a temporary public policy. You can find more information on the temporary public policy on the IRCC's website.

Not necessarily. They can maintain their student status and continue working if they apply for an extension before their initial study permit’s expiration date as long as they stay inside Canada while waiting for their extension.

You can ask to see the receipt of the extension to ensure it was received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before midnight on the expiration date.

Hiring and international student on co-op or internship

They can! SAIT is a leader in applied education, and if it’s part of their program, the international student will already have a co-op work permit.

These opportunities are valuable to international students and positively correlate with better economic outcomes after graduation.

We have amazing international student talent. If you’re interested in hiring a co-op, internship or practicum student, contact

Hiring an international graduate

They can! They’re able to work full-time if they meet all these requirements:

  1. They were already able to work off-campus during their studies.
  2. They applied for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) before their study permit expired, and they were inside Canada on the day they submitted their application.
  3. They’re waiting for a decision on their post-graduation work permit application.

Here’s more info on post-graduation work permits:

  • It’s up to the graduate to apply for the permit, and the employer bears no costs.
  • It can last up to three years, has no hourly restrictions and no restrictions on the type of work.
  • It lets international graduates work for any eligible Canadian employer.
  • There’s no need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

You can request to see all of the following:

  1. Their letter of completion from SAIT.
  2. A copy of their valid study permit.
  3. A copy of the acknowledgement of receipt from their PGWP application.

Employer permit guide

Last updated June 27, 2023

Type of work Required permit About the permit Additional notes
On-campus work Their existing study permit. If they are eligible to work during their studies, it will be listed in the conditions on their study permit. Hourly restrictions. Full-time during scheduled breaks. Students may work on-campus and off-campus, provided they continue meeting the applicable eligibility requirements.
Off-campus work Their existing study permit. If they are eligible to work during their studies, it will be listed in the conditions on their study permit. Hourly restrictions. Up to 20 hours a week during academic terms or more if eligible. Full-time during scheduled breaks. Students may work under the same conditions as their study permit until the day they receive their letter of completion from SAIT.
Work-integrated learning (WIL), co-op, internship or practicum Co-op work permit.
Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations section 205 (c)(i)
This permit is co-op-specific. The permit will have SAIT listed as the employer. Students may work before and/or after their WIL component. They may take up additional on- or off-campus work during their WIL component.
IRCC off-campus work hours temporary public policy 
Working after graduation Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations section 205 (c)(ii)
Hourly restrictions. Full-time and/or part-time. They may also be self-employed. Valid for up to three years, depending on the student’s study program duration.  Graduates may work while they wait for a decision on their PGWP application, provided they meet the criteria.
Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations section 186


A clear and intentional onboarding process will help new international students and graduates feel welcomed, develop a sense of belonging and learn workplace norms and culture.

Investing in a successful onboarding experience leads to higher employee satisfaction, increased productivity and improves new hire retention by as much as 80%.[1]

Understand workplace culture hierarchy and power differences

Understand that international talent may be coming from hierarchal systems where admiration for those in senior roles is expected.

They may demonstrate heightened hierarchal awareness and sensitivity (for example, standing up from their desk when a manager or senior level team member walks in, referring to senior leaders as Sir or Madam or Mr./Ms., waiting for managers to go home before they leave after regular office hours).

They may also feel that they are not productive if they are chatting with colleagues instead of doing work, not understanding that informal conversations with colleagues are also part of the job and an important part of forming relationships.

We recommend reading Common Cultural Differences that Cause Misunderstandings in the Workplacepg. 17 (2020) from Employer Toolkit: Attracting and Integrating Internationally Trained Employees (ITEs) in South Okanagan-Similkameen. 

Create a comprehensive onboarding program

A comprehensive onboarding program will help make new employees feel welcome and provide clear communication around expectations and nuances of the workplace, such as unwritten Canadian and work protocols, work ethics, cultural norms and informal practices (ways to address colleagues and senior leaders, the value of collaboration and expressing ideas in meetings). 

Review onboarding material with the new hire to introduce important policies and operating instructions, company communication styles and information around soft skills outlook and meeting etiquette, response time and common practices around the use of cameras in meetings.

Provide clear verbal and electronic instructions for ease of reference, what to expect on the first day/week, make appointments for them to meet key staff, and create a checklist of what would be helpful.

Onboarding template

Buddy program or ambassador position

Create a supportive community and pair international graduates up with someone in the organization that they can go to for questions and who can show them around.

Employers suggested pairing them up with someone with a similar background or experience could be helpful.

Connecting them with someone with a different background could also be valuable and help advance cross-cultural learning and connection. An HR senior manager of People Analytics and Workforce Planning in the investment sector stated, “They start to thrive when they feel more comfortable.”

An ambassador position can be built into someone’s performance management for limited terms. It can be optional, flexible and fun for employees.

If it’s not possible to create an ambassador role at a company, it can be made part of someone’s position (for example, marketing) as part of promoting the company and creating a fun atmosphere.

Crowdsource community supports and resources as a team

Consider collecting and sharing resources available in the local community as a team.

International talent or employees new to the city may not have the same quality of networks as domestic talent and are not immune to feelings of loneliness or isolation. Asking about things they love to do and sharing activities available in the community may help address loneliness and cultivate belonging. An employer shared that their 23-year-old company, which started with 20 employees and is now over 700, has successfully built this practice into their company culture.

Check your company’s benefits

Benefit providers may offer different benefits to their Canadian and permanent resident employees compared to those with open permits. Look into this and consider alternate benefit providers, and if that’s not possible, communicate this information with the international graduate so there are no surprises.

In this toolkit

1. Why international talent matters 2. Navigating barriers to recruitment 3. Hiring international students and graduates 4. Creating inclusive company culture
A man laughing. He is on the cover of the international talent toolkit.

Get a copy of our toolkit

Download a PDF version of our toolkit, Unlocking International Talent and Pathways to Engage with SAIT International Students and Alumni

Download toolkit


[1] Ermiza Johol, S., Dato Manso, Z. (2022). The Role of Effective Onboarding in Attracting Potential Talent. LICAR22 Research Excellence.