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Working in Canada

International students are able to work in Canada while they are studying, provided they are registered as a full-time student at SAIT in a designated learning program.

Student Employment and Career Centre

Career readiness begins the moment you step foot on campus. SAIT’s Student Employment and Career Centre will help connect you with employers who are looking for great candidates — whether you are a current student, new grad or experienced alum. Services offered include:

  • My Career Hub – access to our online job board so you can view employment opportunities available to SAIT students and alumni, including full-time, part-time, contract, summer, volunteer and work experience positions.
  • Labs, workshops and consultations – covering topics such as resume writing, interview preparation, creating an effective LinkedIn profile, networking tips and more.

No. The only exception is if you are enrolled in part-time studies and it is your final semester of your program and you were enrolled in full-time studies for your previous semesters.

Please note that SAIT students enrolled in the Academic Upgrading or English Language Foundations are not allowed to work off-campus.

A SIN is a 9 digit number issued by the government which allows you to work in Canada. If you receive a job offer, you will need to present your employer with your SIN.

You can obtain a SIN at a Service Canada location. You will need to bring your passport and valid study permit with you in order to obtain the SIN.

If you weren’t previously eligible to work off-campus but now you have changed to a program that allows you to work off-campus (for example, you completed an English or Upgrading program, and are now starting a diploma , degree or certificate), you can apply to change the conditions of your study permit.

You can apply to change the conditions of your study permit online from within Canada. This is the same process as extending your study permit, and costs $150.

If you are eligible to work on campus but the condition is not noted on your study permit, you can submit an application to have your study permit amended by IRCC. This is a free paper application.

If you are unsure if you need to request an amendment or apply for a change of conditions, please visit the International Centre to speak with an advisor.

You can work on-campus if:

  • You have a valid study permit which lists a condition that says you are allowed to work on campus, and
  • You are currently enrolled in full-time studies or are on a scheduled break.

You can work off-campus if:

  • You have a valid study permit, which lists a condition that says you are allowed to work on or off-campus, and
  • You are enrolled as a full-time student in a program, which is at least six months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • You have started your program - you can't work before your studies begin.

If you qualify, your study permit will allow you to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.

Visit the IRCC website for further information about working off campus.

Some of the programs at SAIT involve students participating in a co-op or internship/practicum work placement. For an international student to participate in a co-op or internship, the work must form an integral part of their studies, and the student must obtain a co-op work permit prior to commencing the work placement.

In order to apply, you must first obtain a letter from the International Centre to confirm you are eligible for a co-op work permit.

A co-op work permit is not valid for any other off-campus work.

Visit the IRCC website for further information about a co-op work permit.

Upon graduation from a SAIT designated learning program that was a minimum of eight months in length, international students are eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). This work permit is an open work permit allowing graduates to work for any employer.

An application must be submitted within 90 days of completing your program and you must have a valid study permit when you apply. You will also need to submit proof of your graduation with the application. You can request a letter from the International Centre to confirm this.

Visit the IRCC website for further information about a post-graduation work permit.

If you are considering living and working in Alberta permanently after you graduate, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) can help you, your spouse/common-law partner, and dependant children fast-track your application for permanent residence.

Obtaining your permanent residence status through the AINP takes an average of six to 18 months. The AINP is generally faster than immigration classes, including the Federal Skilled Worker class through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

For more information, please visit the AINP website or contact an international student advisor.

Employment rights

As a full-time student, you may be allowed to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week during the semester, full-time during scheduled breaks). In Alberta, you are protected by law as a worker by the Alberta Employment Standards Code. This sets out specific rules about working conditions that employers must follow.

Before you begin working, it’s a good idea to ask for an employment contract. This should describe your specific duties and expectations, as well as your rate of pay and hours of work. Be sure to review the contract carefully before you sign it. Your employer must also sign the contract. You should keep a copy of this contract for your own records. Also keep in mind that employers are required by law to obtain your SIN (Social Insurance Number) before you begin working.

Some of the important working rights that you should be aware of include:

  • Minimum wage – currently the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00/hour (for most jobs)
  • Employees may work a maximum of 12 hours per day
  • Employees are entitled to at least 30 minutes of rest (break) in each shift longer than five consecutive hours
  • Employees are entitled to at least one day of rest per week
  • Employees are entitled to overtime pay if the total hours worked is greater than 8 hours per day or 44 hours per week. Overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular wage
  • Employers must pay employees at least once per month
  • Employers must provide employees with a statement of earnings for each pay period, and must keep employment records for three years
  • Employees (both full-time and part-time) are entitled to annual vacation time and vacation pay. Employees must work for one year before they are entitled to vacation time. During the first four years of employment, employees are entitled to two weeks’ vacation time with pay
  • Both employees and employers must give each other notice of their intention to end

If you feel your employer has not met Alberta’s minimum employment standards and you cannot resolve the issue, you can file a complaint. For more information, you can also call the Employment Standards Contact Centre toll-free at 1.877.427.3731.


Canada's Income Tax System

As an international student in Canada, it's important to understand your rights, entitlements, and obligations under Canada's tax system. You are responsible for determining your income tax status and making sure that you pay your required amount of taxes for each year according to the law.

Canadian income tax is administered by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Income tax returns need to be filed on or before April 30 for the year previous tax year.

The Canadian tax system is based on residency status, not citizenship. Your residency status will determine your income tax filing requirements.

Most international students “file a tax return” (submit an income tax form to the government) - even if you are not working - as you may be eligible to receive tax credits (payment from the government). International students may have to pay Canadian income tax on income earned from employment, investment(s) and/or business income.

This list represents general documents and personal information that international students may need to submit when filing their taxes to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Individual Tax Number (ITN)
  • A Canadian mailing address
  • T2202A: Tuition and Education Form - available to download from your mysait.ca account
  • T4: Statement of earnings - usually received from your employer (if applicable)
  • T4A: Statement of scholarships, bursaries, pension, annuity and other income (if applicable)
  • RC-62: Universal childcare benefit statement (if applicable)
  • Charitable donations receipts (if applicable)
  • Medical and dental expenses that were not covered by your health insurance plan - receipt must have date and amount paid (if applicable)

There are many local organizations that will provide free tax assistance and clinics for eligible individuals through Canada Revenue Agency's Community Volunteer Tax Program (CVITP). There are also many free tax clinics and resources in Calgary that can assist you – contact the service provider to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. 

Contact us

International Centre

AA206, Heritage Hall, SAIT Main Campus

1.403.284.8852 international@sait.ca

Monday - Friday | 8 am - 4:30 pm

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