BP102
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Working in Canada

How to Apply for a Co-Op Work Permit

Learn the steps to successfully apply for a co-op work permit in Canada.

So, you’re off to study in Canada. Congratulations!  Hopefully, by now, you have applied to your study programs, read your curriculum, and finished waiting for your study visa.

But what happens if your study program needs you to complete work experience? Do you need to apply for a work visa? Do you need one type of visa or multiple visas?

Luckily, we are here to help you answer these critical questions! In short, you should be applying for a co-op work permit. A co-op permit allows you to complete your study placements legally and safely.

If you’re struggling with the ins and outs of applying for a co-op permit, you should read this article because we’ll break down everything you need to know.

We’ll be covering:

  • The benefits of studying in Canada
  • What the co-op work permit is
  • How to apply for a co-op work permit, step by step
  • Some FAQs.

Let’s get into it!

Benefits of Studying in Canadian Cities

Canada is a beautiful place to live and a similarly wonderful place to study! Its vibrant multicultural community makes it a hugely sought-after country to live in.

You could be studying in Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto, or Calgary. You could be interested in further work after a postgraduate qualification or looking to settle down in your new home.

Canada’s top cities are bustling with activity, plus the country’s picturesque wilderness is pretty enough for stamps and postcards. Canada is perfect for parents to raise a family, students to thrive, and workers to earn a decent salary. Whatever their field may be!

Canada’s educational institutions are some of the highest-rated universities internationally. Maybe you’re looking at science, maybe you’re interested in business. Canada has something to offer every student. Canada’s universities and colleges will help you get a quality education and a highly-recognized degree to show for it. 

Applying for a student visa might sound complex, but it’s sure to be easier than you think. There is a wide range of resources to help you out, you could be at your graduation in no time!

After completing your studies, there is also an excellent pathway to residency and Canadian citizenship. This pathway is enabled by post-study work permits offered for successful students. 

So, if you already have applications, offer letters, enrolment, campus, international travel, and airports on your mind, then read on. You’ll be on your way to job opportunities, meeting your employer, and a job offer!

What is a Co-op Work Permit?

A co-op work permit allows you to work while primarily being in Canada for study purposes. However, it’s not just a blanket permit. Your course of study must require you to work in Canada to complete it. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of a co-work permit. We have all the information and instructions on the relevant topics you’re after. 

We’ll cover the details of landing a work permit, touch on frequently asked questions, and provide answers to them. No need to worry about failing compliance with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada! That is, the government department responsible for matters dealing with immigration, refugees, and Canadian citizenship.

Co-op work permits are designed for those needing to complete work experience portions of their degree. For example, students looking at healthcare roles and working in clinics. 

A co-op work permit forgoes the need to apply for a separate visa or look for work placements outside Canada. That’s right, you can look for jobs in Canada without all the added loops to jump through!

Eligibility for a Co-op Work Permit in Canada

To be eligible for a co-op work permit in Canada, you’ll need to meet a few essential requirements:

  • You must hold a current, valid study permit and comply with all regulations and requirements related to such a permit.
  • You must work in Canada to complete your study program.
  • You need a letter from your learning institution or school to support your need to conduct work to complete your studies.
  • Your internship, co-op placement, job, or other employment relevant to your study programs must make up 50% or less of your total study program.

It’s also worth noting that some things will bar you from successfully applying for a co-op work permit:

  • You can’t take an ESL (English as a Second Language) or FSL (French as a Second Language) course.
  • You can’t be taking a general interest course.
  • You can’t be taking courses to prepare for another program of study.

You can also use a handy questionnaire here to help you determine your eligibility. There is also the Come to Canada online eligibility tool

This tool is helpful if you want to work, study, visit, travel through, or live permanently in Canada. The tool has you answer a few questions to determine what immigration programs you can apply for.

You will receive a personal reference code when you use the Come to Canada tool. You can use this code only in the IRCC secure account to:

  • Start an online application for a visitor visa, study permit, or work permit
  • Carry your information from the Come to Canada tool to an Express Entry or International Experience Canada profile.

How to Apply for a Co-op Work Permit

So, you’ve looked through the requirements and are ready to enter the wonderful world of student work placements in Canada! How do you get started with the processing of your application?

Of course, times have changed - you can apply online. This is often faster than traditional application delivery, for example, via mail. Yes, you can skip the mailroom queue for faster results!

Applying online also allows you to quickly submit additional documents online if needed. Moreover, you can get updates on the status of your application directly in your online account.

Applying Online for Your Co-op Work Permit 

Step 1: Make Sure You Have What You Need

Before you get started on your application, the government of Canada has some information about what you’ll need first. Note you can submit your co-op student application and study permit application simultaneously, so stay tuned for the rest of the requirements!

You’ll also need a valid credit or debit card and a way to upload your documents - a scanner or camera.

Speaking of, here is a document checklist to review before starting. This is formalized in the IMM 5583 E form. However, we’ve taken the time to break things down so you can get started!  

You will need:

  • A valid and completed IMM 5710 form
  • Photocopies of a valid passport showing proof of:some text
    • Passport number
    • Date of issue and expiry date
    • Name
    • Date of Birth
    • The stamp from Canadian customs on the passport that marks your most recent date of entry
    • Any other marked pages of the passport
  • Photocopies of any other valid immigration documents you may have used to enter Canada
  • The original copy of the letter from your institution stating you must complete work to finish your education in Canada.

You may also need, depending on your circumstances:

  • A valid and completed IMM 5476 if you are using the services of an authorized representative to help you with your immigration. If you use BorderPass, one will be filled out for you to make the process easier. 
  • A valid and completed IMM 5475, if you give authorization for the release of your personal case information to another individual than yourself
  • A collection of your biometrics if you are applying from within Canada if you have not provided biometrics to enter Canada in the last 10 years
  • If your program’s work component is paid, you must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) before you start work; some text
    • Social Insurance Numbers are a 9-digit number used to work in Canada or access government programs and benefits.

Your requirements might differ in some cases. After beginning your online application, you’ll get a personalized list from BorderPass of what you need.

Note, in the case of biometrics:

If you plan to apply for an immigration document from inside Canada, submitting your biometrics is mandatory. Immigration documents include a study permit, work permit, visitor record, or temporary resident visa (TRV/Visitor Visa/Entry Visa).

You can find more information on this on the ISS News Section and Immigration Canada's website. However, U.S. citizens are currently exempted from providing biometrics. For a complete list of exemptions, you can check Immigration Canada's website.

Make sure to sign and date all your documents appropriately and to keep copies for your purposes and records. 

If something seems out of place, contact BorderPass support. 

Step 2: Create Your Online Account or Sign In to BorderPass

If this is all soundy a bit tricky, don’t worry. BorderPass can help you apply for a Co-Op Work Permit. 

We can help you with gathering the necessary documents, organizing your SIN, and submitting your application. Seeking assistance from BroderPass will make this process much easier than doing it on your own.

You can create your online account here if you still need to set one up. Otherwise, sign in with your existing credentials.

Step 3: Read the Knowledge Base article

You should always read the provided knowledge base article. This document covers common questions, issues, and process guidance - if one is provided. Luckily, you have one available for you to look at when applying for your visa!

Step 4: Take the Co-op Eligibility Assessment on BorderPass

To be sure that you can apply, take our co-op eligibility assessment! This will ensure you are ready to go and offers handy tips on further steps to take with your application.

Step 5: Know the Fees You Have to Pay

You could be looking for a visitor visa, filing a study permit application, or both! You may be subject to some additional fees for processing.

It’s essential to be sure of the fees you’ll be subject to. Look at the relevant documents and processes for the forms you are filing. 

Temporary Policy Extension

The Canadian government has announced that the duration of temporary changes to co-op work permit policies has been extended. 

These changes may impact international students in co-op. Between November 15, 2022, and April 30, 2024, co-op students are eligible to work without a co-op work permit. That is if they satisfy the following criteria:

  • Applied for a study permit (or extension) on or before December 7, 2023.
  • Have a valid study permit and are studying full-time (or have been approved but have not yet arrived in Canada)
  • Study permit includes authorization to work off-campus
  • Are either in Canada or coming to Canada by April 30, 2024
  • Are eligible to benefit from the temporary policy change to work more than 20 hours per week on a study term.

To confirm eligibility for the temporary provisions, contact BorderPass support. 

It’s important to keep updated with all relevant immigration information and requirements. To do so, regularly check in with the IRCC notices page for updates.

Key Takeaways

Do you plan to apply for enrollment in a program that requires you to conduct work experience? You'll have to apply and receive acceptance for a co-op work permit.

Before applying, ensure you know the information you must provide and have it on hand. In particular, ensure you have your co-op letter, main application form, and passport.

Be aware that the processing time for your application may vary. However, applying online is the fastest way to get your documents ready.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between a Co-op Work Permit and a Study Permit?

A study permit allows you to study in Canada and complete a typical course. Some courses of study require you to complete a practicum or job placement, which counts as work. You will need a co-op work permit and your study permit.

How do I know if my study program is eligible for co-op work?

An English as a second language (ELS) or French as a second language (FLS) course is not eligible. An elective course or courses preparing you for a further qualification are also not eligible. Otherwise, you should be eligible, given you are studying with an approved education provider.

How Long Does the Co-op Work Permit Last?

Your co-op permit will last until your study visa (permit) lapses to ensure you can complete your course of study successfully.

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