Which country allows international students to work the most hours?

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: May 13, 2024

On April 29, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it will soon allow international students to work off-campus for 24 hours per week while classes are in session.

This announcement came during a press conference, where IRCC officially revealed that it would not be extending the temporary policy. IRCC's temporary policy allowed international students to work an uncapped number of hours while classes were in session and during scheduled breaks.

The new policy will begin in Fall 2024. Previously, outside of a temporary policy was that enacted in 2022, international students were permitted to work only 20 hours each week.

Discover your options to study in Canada

Under the revised 24-hour-per-week policy, international students will still be able to work full-time during scheduled academic breaks such as the summer and winter holidays or reading week.

How does Canada’s policy compare with other top countries?

Canada remains on par with other top international student destinations in terms of work hour policy. According to a January 2024 report by ApplyBoard, the top five international student destination countries were as follows for 2023. This section of the article will provide a brief overview of each country’s policy regarding work hours for international students.

United States (17%)

In the United States (US), international students with a valid F-1 student visa are permitted to work 20 hours per week on campus. Off-campus, meanwhile, eligible students can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during the student’s annual break and while school is not in session (conditionally).

United Kingdom (11%)

According to the United Kingdom’s Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), international students who have permission to work are required to ensure they do not exceed 10 or 20 hours a week.

The UKCISA cautions that students should check any limits on work that [their] university, college or school imposes or recommends and clarifies that international students are permitted to work full-time when class is not in session.

Canada (10%)

As a reminder, beginning in Fall 2024, Canada’s work hours policy for international students includes the following allowances:

  • 24 hours per week of off-campus employment during the school year
  • Full-time employment during scheduled academic breaks

France (6%)

According to Campus France, the Government of France allows foreign students to work a maximum of 964 hours. This is the equivalent of 60% of the legal work year in France, and is calculated to work out to 21 hours per week.

The same source also details that France has a separate policy for international students looking to work at their university. These students are allowed to work a maximum of 670 hours from September 1st to June 30th, and no more than 300 hours from July 1st to August 31st.

Australia and Germany (also 6%)

Two other countries came in at the same percentage as France on ApplyBoard’s list.

In Australia, according to the Department of Home Affairs, student visa holders are permitted to work up to 48 hours per two-week period while studying.

The Government of Australia also clarifies that student visa holders have no work restrictions when their course of study or training is not in session.

In Germany, according to a report from the ICEF Monitor, international students are entitled to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during their studies.

The value of work hours for international students

The ability to work while pursuing an education is valuable for international students. This allows them to earn money, which they can use to support both themselves and their families.

In Canada, to be eligible for off-campus work as an international student while class is in session, students must meet certain requirements. These include:

  • Possessing a valid study permit
  • Having started* studying full-time at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • Pursuing an academic, vocational, or professional training program that is at least six months long**
  • Having a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Note: Eligibility to work while studying in Canada requires international students to have work authorization on their study permit. This authorization will clearly state whether a student can work on-campus, off-campus, or both.

*International students are only authorized to work in Canada once they have already started studying at their DLI

**The international student’s program of study must lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate

Visit this dedicated webpage to learn more about working while studying in Canada.

Discover your options to study in Canada

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