Working in Canada

Working while Studying

Students who are registered at Columbia College are eligible to work for off-campus for 20 hours per week as long as they are meeting the following requirements:

  • have a valid study permit,
  • be a full-time student,
  • be enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level, and
  • be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

You must stop working on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements (e.g., if you are no longer a full-time student during an academic session.)

For more information, visit this page:

Post Graduation Work Permit

Once you have completed your Associate Degree at Columbia College, you can apply for a work permit that will allow you to work for up to three years after graduation. You must submit your application within 90 days of the date that your final exam results for your final semester are published.

Important Facts

  • You must have a valid study permit when you submit your application.
  • After completing your studies, you can work full-time while waiting for a decision on your post-graduation work permit application if, at the time you submitted your application, you:
    • had a valid study permit,
    • had completed your program of study,
    • were eligible to work off campus without a permit, and
    • did not work off campus more than 20 hours a week during academic sessions.
  • You can obtain only one post-graduation work permit in your lifetime.
  • The PGWP is an open work permit. You can work for any employer, in any occupation, anywhere in Canada. You do not need a job offer to apply.
  • Normally, your post-graduation work permit will not be issued beyond the expiry date of your passport. If you are eligible for a longer work permit than your passport will allow, you must apply for the remaining time by paper (accompanied by a letter of explanation) after renewing your passport.
  • If you plan to leave Canada while your PGWP is processing, talk to an International Student Advisor in Student Services before leaving as there are risks associated with doing this.

How do I apply? 

We recommend that you apply online as it is quicker and there is less room for errors in your application.

Note: It may be possible to apply in person at a Canadian border by “flag-poling,” but we do not recommend this option unless you have consulted with an International Student Advisor in Student Services first, due to some associated risks.

What documents do I need?

  • Application Form: Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710)
    • Complete the form electronically
    • You do not need to print the form. Press the “Validate” button to ensure your application is complete.
    • The validate button does not send any information to IRCC, so you may edit and validate as many times as you need.
  • Copies of your passport or travel document
    • IRCC will not issue a work permit for longer than your passport validity.
  • Official notification that you have completed your Associate Degree at Columbia College
    • You can request a copy of your Degree Certificate and Official Transcript from the Main Reception. These can be requested during Final Exam week.  The processing time is 5-10 business days depending on the time of year.
  • Digital photo
    • Refer to the specifications online for information on the photograph that you need to provide
  • Fees
    • The current fee for a work permit is $255. You must pay online using a credit card.
  • Additional documents may be required – your document checklist will confirm this.

How long will my application take? 

You can check the current processing times here:  For the PGWP processing times, select “Work Permit Extension (new employer)” in the second drop-down menu.

After you get your permit:

  • Renew your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage. If you do not have MSP coverage, you should apply for it immediately.
  • Renew (or apply for) your Social Insurance Number (SIN). You must have a SIN to work in Canada.
  • Apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada, if your country of citizenship requires one. Information on this can be found here:
  • Every time you enter Canada, be prepared to prove at the border that you can support yourself financially (i.e. carry an updated bank statement). If you don’t have a job, bring proof that you are actively looking for work (your resume, a list of jobs that you have applied for, etc.).


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