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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.

International students with a valid study permit might be eligible to work while studying without a work permit. Depending on the program you are enrolled in, you might be able to work on-campus only, or both on-campus and off-campus. International students cannot work before their studies begin.

Working on campus

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. Or,
  • you are studying part-time in your final semester, but you have been a full-time student in all previous academic semesters before

“On-campus” is defined as employment facilities within the boundaries of the campus, including SAIT Main Campus, Mayland Heights Campus, Art Smith Aero Centre, Crane and Ironworker Facility and The Tastemarket by SAIT.

There’s no maximum number of hours you can work when it comes to on-campus work, but the hours must follow provincial labour standards.

If you are enrolled full-time in Academic Upgrading, ELF, or Open Studies, you are eligible to work on-campus but not off-campus.

Working off campus

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 reading week.

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

Off campus working update

On October 7, 2022, IRCC released an announcement about the limit on off-campus work hours.

Effective from November 15, 2022, until December 31, 2023, international students who meet these requirements will be able to benefit from the temporary lift of the limit on off-campus hours while class is in session:

  • inside Canada
  • have off-campus work authorization on their study permit

In order to be eligible for working off-campus authorized on your study permit, you must:

  • be a full-time student at a designated learning institution like SAIT.
  • be enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program.
  • study a program at least six months long leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • have started your program 
  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

If you have submitted a study permit application prior to Oct. 7, you will also be able to benefit from this change, provided your application is approved.

When you travel to Canada, your study permit will be printed upon entry. Make sure you review all information on it, including conditions/remarks (i.e off-campus work authorization if applicable). In case there are none at all, please confirm with the CBSA officer before leaving the airport.

There is no set time frame required for you to arrive in Canada prior to your studying commencement, however, it is recommended that you give yourself a reasonable time for your settlement. If you arrive early and your program at SAIT starts in Winter 2023, you cannot work before you start your studies on January 9, 2023. 

If you have further questions, see the following faq's or email us at international.advising@sait.ca.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, students are still required to apply for a fee-exempt co-op work permit to work on a full-time or part-time basis in a co-op placement or internship in the context of their studies. Co-op placements and internships are required to be an essential part of their program of study and required not to account for more than 50% of the program of study. The student must submit a letter from their DLI confirming these two requirements are met together with their co-op work permit application.

Yes, students are still required to apply for a fee-exempt co-op work permit to work on a full-time or part-time basis in a co-op placement or internship in the context of their studies. Co-op placements and internships are required to be an essential part of their program of study and required not to account for more than 50% of the program of study. The student must submit a letter from their DLI confirming these two requirements are met together with their co-op work permit application.

No, the work experience gained by a foreign national while they are a student does not count towards requirements for Express Entry, and specifically the Canadian Experience Class.

An international student’s off-campus work authorization is written directly onto their study permit, rather than being issued as a separate work permit. Study permit holders who qualify for this temporary measure do not need to do anything to begin working more than 20 hours per week.

If an employer asks for proof that their employee can now work more than 20 hours per week, an eligible international student could print off or provide a link to the news release announcing this measure to them.

All international students who have a valid study permit that authorizes them to work off-campus are eligible to benefit from this temporary change, as well as those who have been approved but who haven’t yet traveled to Canada.  In addition, those who applied for a study permit by October 7, 2022, and are eventually approved for a study permit that includes off-campus work authorization, will be able to come to Canada and work more than 20 hours per week while the temporary policy is in effect.

Foreign nationals who have not yet applied for a study permit will not be able to benefit from this change.

If you have further questions, please email us at international.advising@sait.ca.

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.

Your SIN is a confidential number and should be protected as private information.

Co-Op Work Permit and Off-Campus Work Authorization

From November 15, 2022, to December 31, 2023, you may not need to apply for a co-op work permit. You don’t need a co-op work permit to complete your co-op placement if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You have a valid study permit and we received your application for this study permit on or before October 7, 2022.
  • Your study permit shows that you’re authorized to work off campus.
  • You’re eligible to benefit from the temporary policy change to work more than 20 hours per week while class is in session.
  • Your co-op placement ends by December 31, 2023.
If your co-op placement ends after December 31, 2023, or if you aren’t eligible for the temporary policy change, you need to apply for a co-op work permit to cover the period after that date. You can begin your co-op placement during this period before you’re issued the permit. Any other employment you have won’t be affected.

Co-op work permit

This is a work permit issued to international students who have mandatory work experience (co-op, internship or practicum) as part of their program of study. The co-op work permit allows you to work full-time if necessary during your work experience.

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.

You only need this permit if your program has a mandatory work component. At SAIT, this is typically called a co-op or practicum. If you are unsure, please speak with your academic advisor.

If your Letter of Acceptance has such working requirements mentioned in Box 24, you may apply for your co-op work permit with your initial study permit application. You can also apply for your coop work permit once you arrive in Canada at least 3-4 months before your coop term starts.

If you are a current student with a study permit, the application can be submitted online. This is a free application.

You will be submitting the Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710) application form and your coop letter from SAIT.

Yes, that is normal. The co-op permit should list your post-secondary institution as the employer.

Your co-op work permit allows you to work full-time during academic semesters, but it only authorizes you to work for the specific internship hours approved by SAIT and will grant you your program credits. You are responsible for tracking your hours and should stop using your co-op work permit once you reach the hours required by your program even your co-op work permit is still valid.

If you decide to continue for the same employer after completing the required hours, you might work under your study permit working authorization (maximum 20 hours per week during academic semesters) if you meet the eligibility.

As international students are considered as being enrolled full-time at SAIT during their coop term, you might simultaneously work for another off-campus job for a maximum of 20 hours under your study permit in your coop term.

Yes, you must have a co-op work permit if you have mandatory work experience as part of your program. The co-op work permit is for work pertaining to your program only.

Your study permit does not allow you to work full-time during your academic semester, it is for non-program related work.

Post-graduation work permit

A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that allows international graduates to live and work in Canada for a designated period up to three years. It has no geographic or field of employment restrictions.

Upon graduation from a SAIT designated learning program that was a minimum of eight months in length, international students may be 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 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.

You can apply for a PGWP if you have completed a degree, diploma or certificate program at a DLI (such as SAIT) that is a minimum of 8 months in length. You also need to meet the following criteria:

  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your program (except your scheduled break and final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an authorized leave from studies)
  • Have a valid study permit (or a study permit that was valid at some point in the last 180 days since you completed your program)*

*As many students attend their program online from outside of Canada due to Covid, eligible students can apply for a PGWP from outside Canada as long as they’ve been approved for a study permit. For more information on outside Canada graduates, please see here.

As a student, it is your responsibility to understand and meet the full eligibility requirements.

If you completed a program with duration:

  • Shorter than 8 months — not eligible
  • 8 months to less than 2 years — eligible for a work permit for the same duration as your program. For example, if you completed a 1-year program, you are eligible for a 1-year work permit
  • 2 or more years — eligible for a 3-year work permit

Important: Your PGWP validity date can never extend past the date of your passport validity. Make sure your passport is valid for the entire length of time you should be eligible.

You must apply within 180 days of SAIT issuing your final marks and it’s recommended for you to apply for your PGWP as soon as you receive your Letter of Completion from SAIT while your study permit is still valid.

Your study permit will be valid till the expiry date it’s noted or 90 days after you receive your letter of completion, whichever comes earlier. If you apply for your PGWP while on a valid study permit, you might be eligible to start to work immediately. However, if you plan to apply after your study permit expires, you need to either:

  • Change your status to a visitor before your study permit expires

Or, if your study permit expires, you need to:

  • Leave the country and apply from outside of Canada, or
  • Apply for restoration and your PGWP at the same time.

Please note that you can only receive a PGWP once in your life. If you intend to continue your studies, you might want to wait to apply for your work permit.

The application can be submitted online and costs $255.

The application form that you will be completing is the “Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM5710)”.

How to submit your PGWP

As PGWP application made from outside of Canada has different requirements. If you will apply for your PGWP from outside of Canada, please contact the International Centre.

PGWP Letter of Completion: After you apply to graduate, we will run a graduation audit to confirm you are eligible to complete your program. We will then upload the letter to MyCreds™. Look for an email from MyCreds™ in your personal email address. Review how to access through MyCreds™ for more details.

Final transcript: Find steps to request your transcripts here.

  • We recommend including SAIT’s Definition of Full-Time Studies with your PGWP application. This document can be found here.

Please note that as of Feb. 14, 2019, both the letter of completion and transcript are required for the PGWP application.

It depends. Refer to the IRCC Help Centre for more information before you travel.

No. Once you receive your PGWP you can then apply for a new TRV.

  • Before you receive written notice of program completion: If you were eligible to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during your final semester, you can continue working part-time until you receive notice of program completion (letter from SAIT)
  • Once you receive the notice of completion: you must STOP working until you submit the PGWP application
  • After you submit the PGWP application you can start working full-time if you:
    • Were eligible to work part-time during your academic semester and didn’t work off-campus more than 20 hours during academic semesters
    • Have a valid study permit at the time of applying for your PGWP a
  • If your PGWP is refused, you must stop working immediately.

You can now order your unofficial transcript simply through your MySAIT account. Please check the Quick Reference Guide on easy steps to follow.

You MUST have a valid temporary status as a student or a visitor in order to apply for a PGWP. If your study permit expires around your program completion time, you should consider to apply for your study permit extension early so that you still hold a valid status to bridge your graduation period. If you have not applied to extend it before it expires, you must stop studying and working and apply for a restoration of status.

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. 

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International Centre

AA206, Heritage Hall, SAIT Main Campus

1.403.284.8852 international@sait.ca

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