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How To Make Money As An International Student In Canada

​Wondering how to make money as an International student in Canada?

Whether you need extra cash to pay for books or meals or you are struggling to afford the high cost of living – we have the best ways to make some extra money as you study. 

Read for the best ways to make money while studying in Canada. 

How to make money as an international student in Canada

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information


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Does The Canadian Government Allow International Students to Work? 

First, the good news – as an international student in Canada, you have various opportunities to earn money while furthering your education. 

Of course, it is important to understand whether you can legally as a student in Canada  – fortunately, international students are provided with certain work privileges.

These privileges allow you to take part in employment within and outside your campus, fitting within your study schedules and immigration guidelines.

Your student status doesn’t confine you to specific jobs; rather, it opens a spectrum of possibilities to earn, learn, and grow.

As a Canadian student you can make extra income in a variety of ways: 

Part-time employment on-campus presents a convenient way to make money without having to travel far from your place of study.

 There’s also the potential to find off-campus work that could be more aligned with your academic field or personal interests. 

Expanding your search can lead to rewarding experiences that not only bolster your resume but also immerse you in Canadian culture. 

And of course, it goes without saying that there is good money to be had with an online side hustle.  

The rise of digital platforms has transformed the ability to work remotely or freelance, providing flexible options that fit around academic commitments.

For those with entrepreneurial aspirations, starting your own business or exploring self-employment avenues is another great way to earn money while in Canada. 

Key Takeaways

  • On-campus and off-campus work options are viable ways to earn money while studying.
  • Leveraging digital platforms can provide flexible employment opportunities.
  • Understanding and adhering to Canadian work and immigration policies is essential.

Understanding Canadian Work Regulations

Navigating the work regulations in Canada is crucial for maintaining your legal status as an international student.

Below is specific information about work eligibility, required permits, off-campus work rules, and co-op/internship permits. If in doubt, please consult with an immigration attorney. 

Eligibility for Work as a Student

To legally work in Canada while studying, you must hold a valid study permit, be a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI), and maintain satisfactory academic standing.

Additionally, your study program must be at least six months long and lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.

According to a press release from December 2023 by Immigration Minister Marc Miller

“International students already in Canada, as well as applicants who have already submitted an application for a study permit as of December 7, 2023, will be able to work off campus more than 20 hours per week until April 30, 2024.”

Stay tuned for what happens after that! 

Off-Campus Work Rules

You are allowed to work off-campus without a work permit if you meet the eligibility criteria:

  • You are allowed up to 20 hours of work per week during regular academic sessions, and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.
  • You must stop working the day you no longer meet the eligibility requirements (e.g., if you become a part-time student).

Co-op and Internship Work Permit

To participate in work-placement or internship, your program requirements must include such work experience for you to apply for a co-op or internship work permit.

The job offered must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada.

Required documents for a co-op or internship work permit are similar to a study permit but must include:

  • A letter from your school confirming all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree
  • An official job offer letter from your employer

Please note: Regulations can change; always check with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or a regulated Canadian immigration consultant for the most recent information.

On-Campus Job Opportunities

As an international student in Canada, you can make money through on-campus jobs.  

These jobs accommodate your study schedule and often relate to your academic or personal interests.

They offer cash-strapped students the chance to make some money and meet new people at the same time. 

University Jobs

Work-Study Programs

Many Canadian universities offer work-study programs to international students, which are part-time positions within the campus designed to fit your class schedule. Examples of these positions include:

  • Library assistant
  • Campus tour guide
  • Student union roles

To apply, visit your university’s career center website or job portal to find available listings that match your skills and interests.

Campus Services

Your university’s various departments often hire students for positions, such as:

Department Positions Available
Food Services Barista, cashier
Athletics Facility attendant
Academic Offices Front desk assistant

These jobs can be found on university employment pages or by inquiring directly with the specific department.

Research Assistant Positions

Undergraduate Research

 If you’re interested in academia, becoming a research assistant is a valuable opportunity to work closely with a professor in your field of study.

Responsibilities typically include:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Literature reviews
  • Lab maintenance

To secure these positions, reach out directly to professors you’re interested in working with or visit your department’s bulletin boards for openings.

Graduate-Level Research

For graduate students, being a research assistant is often part of the funding package.

These roles are more in-depth and align closely with your field of research, involving tasks like:

  • Advanced data analysis
  • Experiment design and implementation
  • Co-authoring academic papers

Consult with your faculty advisor for available positions and application processes.

Exploring Off-Campus Work

​While there are plenty of ways to make money on campus, the best part-time jobs are typically out off-campus. 

As an international student in Canada, you have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and earn money through off-campus employment.

It’s important to understand the regulations: you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks such as during the summer months. 

Part-Time Employment

When seeking part-time work off-campus, prioritize jobs that complement your study schedule.

To begin, you should:

  • Ensure your study permit allows for off-campus work.
  • Obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada.

Look for roles in various sectors such as:

  • Retail: Sales associate, cashier, inventory clerk.
  • Food and Beverage: Server, barista, kitchen helper.
  • Administration: Receptionist, data entry clerk.
  • On-campus opportunities despite being off-campus: Jobs may exist on campus but are considered off-campus employers, such as working for a private company located on campus.

Leverage resources such as college job boards, online job portals like Indeed or Monster, and networking events.

Freelance and Consulting

Explore freelance or consulting work to leverage your existing skills in a flexible manner.

You can offer services such as:

  • Graphic design: Create logos, marketing materials, and web designs.
  • Content writing: Produce articles, blog posts, and social media content.
  • Tutoring: Offer academic support in your area of expertise.
  • IT services: Web development, app support, or tech troubleshooting.

Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr can connect you with clients in need of your services.

Create a profile showcasing your:

  • Skills and expertise.
  • Previous work or portfolio.
  • Rates and availability.

Remember to stay compliant with Canadian tax laws regarding income from freelance work.

Leveraging Your Academic Field

Your academic field holds potential for earning.

Identify your strengths and consider the following avenues to monetize your expertise.

Tutoring Services

  • Identify Demand: Seek subjects within your field that are in high demand for tutoring. For example, if you’re a math major, calculus or statistics often require extra help.
  • Set Your Rates: Research average tutoring rates in your area and set competitive prices.
    • Undergraduate Subjects: CAD $20-30/hr
    • Graduate Subjects: CAD $30-50/hr
  • Market Your Services: Use university bulletin boards, social media, and tutoring platforms to reach potential clients.

Technology and IT Gigs

  • Freelance Platforms: Register on sites like Upwork or Freelancer to find short-term tech projects that match your skills.
  • Capitalize on Trends: If you’re skilled in web development, mobile app creation, or cybersecurity, these are areas with high earning potential.
    • Web Development: If you have web design skills – offer to build or maintain websites.
    • Mobile Apps: Develop custom apps for local businesses or startups.
    • Cybersecurity: Provide security assessments or consulting services.
  • Network: Attend tech meetups and conferences to connect with potential clients or employers.

Utilizing Online Platforms

Online platforms offer you flexible opportunities to earn money while managing your studies.

They provide access to a global market where you can use your skills and cultural knowledge to your advantage.

Tutoring Online

You can leverage your native language and other skills by providing tutoring services online. 

  • Outschool: Teach any skill you are good at!  Share your love for dance or a different culture while making money from home. 
  • VIPKID: Focuses on teaching English to children in China; requires a bachelor’s degree and North American accent.

To start, create a profile highlighting your language proficiency and teaching experience. Make sure to set a competitive rate for your tutoring sessions.

Freelance Marketplaces

Freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr are great for selling your services. It’s also a great way to get practical experience with you degree subject, 

For example, graphic designers can get paid to make marketing materials or logos for businesses. 

On the other hand, software engineers can offer up their IT services. 

A step-by-step approach:

  1. Create an Online Profile: Describe your skills, experience, and what you offer.
  2. Set Your Services: List the tasks you can do, such as writing, graphic design, or web development.
  3. Build Your Reputation: Start with smaller jobs to build up reviews and increase your visibility.

Remember to check the terms to understand the commission each platform takes and ensure compliance with your student visa work restrictions.

Other online job opportunities include: 

  • Customer service jobs as places such as Amazon 
  • Online Chat Jobs – check out this list for some ideas

Entrepreneurship and Self-Employed Options

As an international student in Canada, exploring entrepreneurship and self-employed opportunities can be a lucrative way to earn money while gaining invaluable experience.

Starting a Small Business

If you have an internet connection, you can start your own business from home!

Business owners enjoy freedom and the ability to make as much money as they want! Plus, you don’t need any previous experience. 

Here are some of the most popular ways to make money with a business for those in higher education: 

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) is a versatile professional who provides remote administrative, creative, or technical support to individuals, entrepreneurs, or businesses. 

 VAs typically offer a wide range of services, including but not limited to email management, social media assistance, data entry, research, and customer support. .

Social Media Influencer

Have a lot of TikTok fans or your own Youtube Channel?

Why not pad your bank account with some paid video content? This is a good option for anyone who is willing to put in the work and wants to leverage their talents online.

You can make money through brand sponsorships or as a student ambassador for businesses. 

Affiliate Marketing Guru

Another way to make money on the various social media platforms is through affiliate marketing.

You can create blog posts or Instagram posts in your spare time and promote various products, all while getting paid commission for any sales you refer. 

Sell your own products on Etsy

Feeling creative? Starting your own Etsy shop is an excellent way to make money from home. 

Here are some of the best things to sell on Etsy to make money this year: 

16 Free Things To Sell On Etsy (Yes, Really!)

100 Things To Sew And Sell On Etsy

51 Best Selling Printables on Etsy


​One of the best skills you learn in your academic years is the ability to proofread!

So why not supplement your living expenses with a proofreading gig

You don’t need experience to be a proofreader from home and it can be a good way to hone your skills and make money. 

Here are even more fun job ideas you can check out. 

“Different” Ways To Cover Those High Tuition Fees

If those student lines of credit are getting a bit too big and you really need some money, you might be considering some alternative ways to make money as a student in Canada. 

From starting an OnlyFans page to selling your underwear online, there are a lot of different ways people are making money right now.

You can check out some of the options here and see if any suit you!

How To Make Money As An International Student In Canada – Final Thoughts

Remember, while these ventures offer flexibility, they also require a strong entrepreneurial spirit and self-discipline to succeed.

 It’s crucial to read the requirements carefully and prepare your application ahead of time to increase your chances of securing financial aid.

Regularly check on university bulletins, official government pages, or dedicated scholarship platforms for the most up-to-date information.

Networking and Community Involvement

Leveraging your network and participating in community efforts can open up numerous avenues for earning while studying in Canada.

These activities can enhance your visibility and credibility within your professional community.

Volunteering for Exposure

  • Expand Your Skills: Volunteering allows you to apply your academic knowledge in real-world scenarios, boosting your resume with practical experience.
  • Build Professional Relationships: You’ll meet individuals who could provide job references or alert you to job openings.

​Adjusting to Canadian Culture

Thriving in Canada as an international student involves understanding and adapting to local cultural practices.

Cultural Etiquette and Norms

In Canada, politeness and respect for personal space are highly valued.

When meeting someone, a firm handshake and eye contact are common, but always be mindful that personal space is generally kept at about an arm’s length.

Apologizing if you bump into someone and waiting in line patiently are not just courteous but expected.

It’s also customary to say “please” when making a request and “thank you” to express gratitude.

  • Timeliness: Canadians are punctual and value timeliness. Arriving on time for classes, work, and appointments is important.
  • Tipping: Tipping is a standard practice for services such as at restaurants, hair salons, and taxis. Typically, 15%-20% is customary depending on the quality of service.

Overcoming Language Barriers

Effective communication is vital for success in your academic and professional life.

If English or French is not your first language, consider enrolling in language classes offered by many Canadian institutions.

  • Utilize Language Learning Tools:
    • Apps: Duolingo, Babbel, or Rosetta Stone can enhance your language skills.
    • Language Exchange: Partner with a native speaker to practice.
  • Academic Support:
    • Writing Centers: Most universities offer writing aid to help you grasp academic language.
    • Tutoring: Seek one-on-one sessions for personalized assistance.

Navigating Immigration Policies

When in Canada as an international student, your ability to earn money is tied to the specific regulations outlined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

Understanding your work eligibility is crucial.

Social Insurance Number (SIN) is necessary for working in Canada. Apply for your SIN as soon as you receive permission to work.

Following are some key points to remember:

  • You may start working in Canada only after your studies have begun.
  • Overworking can lead to non-compliance with your immigration status.
  • Post-graduation, you may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), allowing you to work full-time after completing your studies.

Good luck and Happy Job Hunting!