Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

As an international student, you have many opportunities to gain valuable work experience while completing your degree.

If you are in a co-op program, you must receive your co-op work permit prior to undertaking employment at your first work placement in Canada. It is important to maintain your co-op work permit status during all of your co-op work terms.

If you are not issued co-op work permit approval with your initial study permit application you submitted outside of Canada or a co-op work permit at the port-of-entry into Canada, you can apply once you are in Canada. If you are waiting for this initial co-op work permit application submitted in Canada to be processed, normally you cannot begin your co-op job in Canada until the application is approved. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made special provisions, where you can begin your co-op work term in Canada with limited hours, using your study permit, as long as your study permit has the R186(f) or (v) work condition, for on and off campus work, respectively. You would be limited to working a maximum 20 hours per week off campus (including hours for a separate part-time job) until a decision is made on the application, however you could work any number of hours per week on-campus if your employer is on-campus. If your co-op work permit application is refused, you must stop working on and off campus. The decision to take advantage of this provision would be at the discretion of your employer.

If you would like information about working on or off campus part-time, during breaks and/or off terms, review our working in Canada page

If you have any concerns about the conditions or remarks on your co-op work permit,  please speak with one of our immigration consultants. For information, regarding finding a co-op position and the Waterloo co-op experience, contact Co-operative Education (CE).

Our team of Immigration Consultants is here to help you with your application! Please book an appointment with our team for an application review to not risk a refusal on your application. You can book a same day appointment on Portal or contact us via webform requesting an appointment.

How to apply within Canada