Working or doing an internship in Canada after your student exchange program
After your exchange, you will need a work permit to work or do an internship in Canada.
Although your study permit is still valid during the summer after your exchange, if you don’t intend to re-register for the fall semester at a Canadian educational institution, you can’t work during the summer with your study permit. Similarly, if you complete your exchange in the fall semester and hold a study permit, you can’t use this permit to work during the holiday break if you don’t intend to re-register for the winter semester at a Canadian educational institution.
Here are different options for obtaining a work permit.
Students from countries that have an agreement with Canada can apply for a work permit through International Experience Canada (IEC).
IEC offers three pools of experiences:
- Working Holiday
- Young Professionals
- International Co-op (Internship)
Check to see whether you are eligible for any of these pools. Depending on the pool you will be participating in, you may already need to have found your job or internship to be able to apply. Plan to apply in advance because the process for getting a work permit can take several months.
If your country of nationality isn’t in the IEC list, you can contact a recognized organization. Most recognized organizations offer fee-based services, and the eligibility requirements are different for each organization.
The Mobilité Francophone component of the International Mobility Program (IMP) facilitates the process of obtaining a closed work permit outside Québec for Francophones. To be eligible for this component and to apply for a work permit, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- have a job offer in a province or territory other than Québec for any position in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except primary agriculture occupations.
- proficiency in French (oral expression and comprehension level 5 or higher). The job in Canada does not need to be in French.
The Mobilité Francophone component grants an exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to obtain a work permit. However, the employer must submit a job offer in the Employer Portal.
Visit these sites to learn more:
Immigrating to a Francophone community outside Québec
Hire French-speaking or bilingual workers outside Québec
Hiring a worker without an LMIA: About the process
There are three categories of work permit:
- Closed work permit with LMIA
- Closed work permit without LMIA
- Open work permit
Closed work permit with Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
For this type of permit, you must first find a potential employer who has already obtained an LMIA for the position you are applying for or who is willing to apply for one. For an employer, obtaining an LMIA is a matter of demonstrating that despite diligent searches, they have been unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is qualified for the job.
Closed work permit without Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
This type of permit allows you to work in a specific position with a specific employer; the employer does not need to prove the lack of qualified workers, and therefore does not need to obtain an LMIA. The IEC Young Professionals pool (see above) is an example. The International Mobility Program (IMP) also allows you to obtain LMIA-exempt work permits through, for example, international free trade agreements (Chile, Colombia, Korea, Mexico, Peru) and the Mobilité Francophone component (see above).
Before applying to a specific program, make sure you fully meet the program’s criteria.
Open work permit
This type of permit allows you to work anywhere in Canada for almost any employer. The programs for obtaining an open work permit are quite limited. Examples include IEC’s Working Holiday permit (see above) and work permits for spouses of foreign students or skilled workers.
The Bureau de la vie étudiante – BVE (Student Life Office) regularly offers presentations about this. See their website for details.
Last updated on: 2023-08-09