The top jobs for international students in Canada

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: March 3, 2023

As of November 15th, 2022, international students holding a valid study permit in Canada can now work an unlimited number of hours, during school semesters, until the end of 2023.

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After analyzing reputable sources (IDP, CTV, ApplyBoard) on top jobs available to international students in Canada, CIC News has compiled the following list—with consideration to flexible work hours, fair pay, immersion in a field, and easy-going work responsibilities.

Top part-time jobs

This is one of the simplest roles to acquire, as most TA positions are reserved for students. TA jobs are advantageous because they allow students to immerse themselves in their field of study and get teaching experience—especially valuable for those pursuing a career in academia. This can also be an excellent chance to work closely with a specific professor or faculty, while being able to earn and support oneself. TA jobs are convenient as they typically occur on university/college campuses, saving students commuting time and travel costs.

For international students of age, serving/bartending allows for a great deal of flexibility in choosing work hours, while providing a serious earnings boost (depending on hours worked and popularity of workplace) because of tips. Standard pre-tax tipping rates in Canada are between 15-18%, meaning that students working multiple hours a week can earn as much as $200-400 extra in just tips alone, with many reporting more.

Ride-sharing applications like Uber and Lyft are very popular in student hotspots (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, etc.). To be eligible, students must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, a dependable car, and a smartphone. The job uniquely provides students complete freedom to set their work hours; working as much or as little as their schedule permits.

Note: Earnings can vary greatly depending on the time and distance of the rides that drivers drive, and how many rides they clear in a week.

Like TA positions, tutoring can be another great way for students to earn money during their studies. Tutoring allows students to set their own prices, duties, and hours of work. This can also enable students to immerse themselves in a field of study with a specific focus on teaching, while not having to worry about administrative work.

A broad job category that encompasses a wide range of occupations, being a freelancer can yield a wealth of opportunities for students—with flexibility of work hours and independence to decide work rates. Freelancing is also a great opportunity to establish one’s name and work in an industry/profession of interest. While this work can be tough as students initially establish themselves and entice more customers, freelance work provides a number of professional avenues for those motivated enough to pursue this path during their studies.

Resources to help with the search

Whether students are interested in pursuing any of the above roles, or they want to continue to explore their employment options, the following resources can be used to aid that search:

  • CanadaVisa Job Search Tool—A comprehensive tool that pulls results from both government and private job posting portals;
  • LinkedIn—The networking platform amalgamates postings from around the web, making it an easy place to begin the job search;
  • Indeed—An international job posting site with millions of postings;
  • JobBank.ca—The official job bank maintained and updated by the Canadian government;
  • Workopolis—A job posting site that provides job services in both English and French;
  • TalentEgg—An online job portal made specifically for students and recent graduates;
  • Magnet—A not-for-profit platform that connects Canadian workers with opportunities; and
  • LeapGrad—A relatively new platform created to connect students and new graduates with employers who are hiring;

Keep in mind

As international students work through their studies, there are three key factors, that should be paid close attention to: pay, working conditions, and immigration considerations.

On April 1, 2022, Canada voted to implement a new federal minimum wage policy, raising the nation-wide minimum wage to $15.55 CAD/hour, with the promise of adjustments based on inflation. International students should ensure (outside of specific employment arrangements like Co-op positions) that their wages are at least commensurate with this number.

Additionally, international students should be aware that as temporary foreign workers in Canada, they are afforded all the same workers’ rights as Canadian permanent residents and citizens. Should an international student find that their employers are in violation of any of their worker’s rights, they are empowered by law to report them to the appropriate authorities.

International students should also keep in mind conditions that they must meet, to be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)—to further work and potentially immigrate to Canada. Namely, international students must maintain full-time status for the duration of their studies. This is one of the most important conditions to receiving a PGWP and should be carefully adhered to now that international students are able to work full time hours during school semesters. If international graduates apply for a PGWP before the expiration of their study permit, they will be eligible to continue working full time under maintained status, even before a decision is received on their application.

Lastly, international students should note that anyone work done pre-graduation (as a full-time student) does not count towards immigration eligibility (with most streams requiring at least a year’s worth of full-time work experience). This makes the PGWP so crucial for students hoping to settle permanently in Canada.

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