Studying in Canada

Change a Study Permit to a Work Permit in Canada

Discover the process for converting a study permit into a work permit in Canada.

Studying in Canada is a great investment in your education, but surely you want to monetize your knowledge at some point. In that case, you may want to know how to change a study permit to a work permit in Canada.

This is achievable for most students; however, it partly depends on your status and the program you are attending.

For an in-depth insight into this process, let's cover the most important requirements you need to meet. Most importantly, with a BorderPass, you will only be faster in accomplishing it.

What is a Work Permit in Canada?

A work permit is a legal document that allows an international student to be employed while residing in Canada.

There are two types of work permits in Canada:

An employer-specific work permit enables you to work in Canada based on the conditions specified in your permit, including:

  • Name of employer
  • Location of the workplace
  • Number of working hours

Before applying, your employer must provide you with:

  • A copy of your employment contract
  • A copy of the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Offer of employment number (for workers exempt from LMIA), which means your employer must use the Employer portal for those who hire temporary workers through the International Mobility Program (IMP)

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada except:

  • If he is marked as ineligible on the list of employers who haven’t met certain conditions
  • If he offers immoral services
  • If he thinks that you can get an open work permit only under certain conditions

Why Switch to a Work Permit?

Almost all international students who come to study in Canada want to set their own path to success, which includes working in Canada. Then, the work permit brings several additional reasons that allow them to reach higher goals and, therefore, do not stop there.

It can be a path to Canadian citizenship as if you have worked in Canada for a long time, you will become eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Furthermore, with a work permit, you can gain valuable work experience that increases your employability, gain insight into the Canadian labour market and make connections that could benefit your career in the future.

Changing to a Work Permit After Completing Your Studies

After completing your studies at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), you can apply for a work permit that is issued for eight months up to three years. A great benefit to a post-graduation work permit is you are not bound to any specific employer or job position (also known as an open work permit).

Once all requirements have been met, you have 180 days to apply for an open work permit, and a graduate work permit application can be made outside or within Canada. To make the process easier for you, BorderPass provides you with the tools to assess and effectively manage your immigration journey.

Post-Graduation Work Program (PGWP)

The most important rule for obtaining a Postgraduate Work Permit (PGWP) is to complete your studies at DLI. Then, you become eligible to work full-time from eight months to three years. The best part is that you may work for any employer in any Canadian province, which refers to open work permits.

Two primary documents you need to apply for PGWP are:

  • The DLI degree certificate 
  • The transcript and official letter from an eligible DLI confirming you’ve met the requirements for completing their study program

As you may suppose, you need to ensure that you pay the required fees, namely the 255 USD IRCC PGWP fee, which consists of 100 USD. 

Some of the PGWP eligibility requirements include holding a valid temporary status and having proof of full-time student status during each academic session of the program.

We recommend choosing a job according to your qualifications to gain the right to permanent residence. If you are curious about what qualifications you may get, you’ll want to know the best courses to study in Canada.

Changing to a Work Permit Before Completing Your Studies

When changing to a work permit before completing your studies, obtaining a work permit in Canada sometimes requires a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This involves finding a valid job offer from an employer who supports your work permit application by providing an LMIA.

Work Permit with an LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment)

A Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that assesses the impact of employing a foreign national in Canada.

Unlike an open graduate work permit, an LMIA is a closed work permit for a specific employer, in a specific job position and location, and it indicates that the Canadian employer could not find a permanent resident or citizen to fill the role.

It’s important to note that if you stop studying, your permit will no longer be valid, requiring you to notify Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Accordingly, you must be outside Canada while your work permit is being processed because you don’t have current status.

Key Takeaways

Based on our experience, you should know the requirements for changing a study permit to a work permit in Canada. Luckily, you can track your status live on the BorderPass dashboard for faster processing.

Now that you know the required documentation and the conditions for changing your study permit to a work permit before and after your studies, you will make the whole process quick and easy.


Are There Any Conditions on My Work Permit?

As part of the procedure, you may need to submit some of the following documents:

  • Completed application forms
  • CV
  • Proof of status in Canada
  • Proof of family member status
  • Excerpt from the marriage register
  • Canadian Work Permit Biometrics
  • Assessment of the impact on the labor market
  • A written offer of employment
  • Certificate d'acceptance du Quebec (CAK)

What Is the Co-op Work Program?

The co-op work program is a program that students can apply for during graduation and operates on the principle of cooperation between Canadian companies and universities. The aim is to integrate relevant work experience into university courses and allow international students to work full-time while studying. 

How May I Apply for a Co-op Work Permit?

You may apply for a co-op work permit if you meet the following conditions:

  • You have a valid study permit
  • You are required to work to complete your study program in Canada
  • Your co-op placement or internship constitutes 50% or less of your study program

If you apply for a co-op work permit, you have the following benefits:

  • No courier fees
  • Your applications can be processed faster
  • You can check the completeness of the application before sending it
  • You can quickly send multiple documents if they require it
  • The login status of your account is updated regularly
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