Fact Sheet — International Students and Graduates


The number of international students choosing to study in Canada has been on the rise since 2004. Many of those students have options for working during their studies or after they graduate, through the Off-Campus Work Permit Program and the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Advantages to Employers

Hiring a foreign student or a recent international graduate is extremely easy. Both the Off-Campus Work Permit and the Post-Graduation Work Permit are open work permits. This means that employers do not need to apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) for authorization to hire a foreign national (i.e., a Labour Market Opinion).

When employers hire an international student or a recent graduate, it is usually a young person who is forming the skills they will need to be successful in the long term. Employers who take pride in the quality of training and mentorship they provide should find hiring foreign students very appealing.

International students and graduates who are gaining experience in Canadian classrooms and workplaces are also an important source of future permanent economic immigrants. By studying and working in Canada, they are already well prepared for the Canadian labour market. During their studies, they may have learned about the latest developments in an employer’s field and bring that knowledge and know-how to the workplace.

With the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Provincial Nominee Program in place, international students or graduates have options if they wish to stay permanently in Canada. Employers may discover that by the time the international graduate employee has become a permanent resident, they have become a truly dedicated employee who will provide many years of service to the organization.

How These Programs Work

Foreign nationals studying full-time at participating publicly funded post-secondary institutions, or in certain programs at private post-secondary institutions, are eligible to apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit (OCWP).

The OCWP allows foreign students to work for an employer off campus for up to 20 hours a week while class is in session, and full-time during scheduled breaks in the academic calendar.

Foreign nationals who have completed a program of at least eight months at a participating Canadian university or college may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The PGWP allows international students who have completed their studies to work for an employer in Canada for up to three years, depending on how long their course of study was.

Facts and Figures

  • More than 98,000 international students entered Canada in 2011, an all-time record.
  • About 6,700 international students made the transition to permanent resident status in 2011.

For more information, see the CIC website.

Last updated: October 1, 2012

Date Modified: