Finding work

There are many options for you as an international student if you would like to find employment. Learn about your options for finding work, and what you need to do in order to successfully apply for jobs.

Social Insurance Number

You will need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work anywhere in Canada, including the University of Waterloo. This also applies to co-op positions. A SIN is how the Government of Canada keeps track of income for tax purposes.

Working on campus

Students who hold a valid study permit can work part-time on campus while they are registered full-time, and can work full-time during scheduled study breaks. A work permit is not required for on-campus employment. 

The Federation of StudentsRetail Services, Athletics, Housing and ResidenceFood Services, and the Centre for Career Action frequently post part-time opportunities for students on their websites.

Teaching and Research Assistantship positions on campus are also available to graduate students. Graduate students are not to be employed by the University for more than an average of ten hours per week for any term during which they are enrolled as full-time graduate students. Contact your department for more information.

Working off campus

Full-time degree students who hold a valid study permit can work without a work permit part-time off campus (up to 20 hours) while they are registered full-time, and can work full-time during scheduled study breaks, if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Exchange students and ESL students are not permitted to work off campus.

If you decide to work off campus, your studies must remain your primary purpose for being in Canada.

Co-op employment

If you are a co-op student, you will be able to apply for jobs across Canada. You must obtain a Co-op Work Permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) prior to undertaking employment on your co-op work terms.  Contact Co-operative Education with any questions regarding finding a co-op position and the co-op experience.

International Undergraduate Work-Study Program

The International Undergraduate Work-Study program provides part-time employment opportunities on campus for eligible full-time international undergraduate students. To be eligible to apply for the program you must:

  • be enrolled in a minimum 60 per cent course load
  • have a valid study permit
  • have satisfactory academic standing
  • demonstrate exceptional financial need
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number

See the International Undergraduate Work-Study program page of the Student Awards and Financial Aid website for more information.

Working after graduation

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program that allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to work in Canada for up to three years after completion of degree requirements if they meet the criteria.