International job hunting: How to get a well-paying job as an international student

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: MIRSAD SARAJLIC
During your studies, you can gain work experience both on and off campus.

Canada is one of the most demanded and promising destinations for educational emigration. Favourable factors include more affordable tuition prices compared to the neighbouring United States, and a friendly attitude towards immigrants, and the opportunity to get a job from the first days of study. This offers the prospect of earnings and the chance to find an employer for a part-time job, while still a student. During your studies, you can gain work experience both on and off campus.

In 2014, Canada helped international students by allowing them to work up to 20 hours a week during the school year. During spring, autumn and summer holidays, they could work full time (up to 40 hours a week). International students do not need a special work permit for employment on and off campus. It is enough to have a student residence permit (study permit) and meet the following requirements:

• Be a full-time student;

Get the TD Insurance app.

• The duration of the training course is at least six months in an accredited educational institution;

• Study in an academic program leading to a diploma or certificate.

The average salary on campus is $15 per hour. Other businesses off campus may offer up to $18. In addition to wages, sometimes additional bonuses are provided like discounts on food or benefits.

Working on campus has a number of advantages. Firstly, this is an opportunity to significantly expand your social and professional connections. Active participation in the academic community will help you get comfortable in a new place and make friends from different fields. For many students this gives them the opportunity to find a job related to a future profession, establish themselves as specialists, and gain professional experience that will surely help later.

Students may work on their post-secondary campus. The employer can be the institution itself, a student organization or a private company located on campus. There are many options, including everything from bookstore salesperson, assistant librarian and cleaning service employee, to more high-skilled positions that require certain experience. For example, some colleges recruit social workers for hospitals or clinics. Sometimes they are located away from the campus, but formally belong to the college. Graduate students can count on the position of teaching assistant or research assistant.

Depending on the type of activity, the requirements for applicants also varies. For initial positions, you often need only the ability to work in a team, be responsible, and organized. But professional skills may also be required such as knowledge of Adobe software, first aid or experience with a sewing machine.

You can find work on campus in the following ways:

• Ask for help from a local student organization that acts as a local employment service and helps with the search;

• Register on the website of the educational institution, where information about vacancies on campus are published.

The range of opportunities for student work outside the campus is not very large. Generally, you would be looking at positions in the service industry as a server or hostess in a restaurant, a cashier, a salesperson, an administrator, or a call centre employee. Such vacancies involve shift work, allowing students to build their schedule so that it does not interfere with their study schedule.

It is more difficult to get a paid job outside the college due to time restrictions (20 hours a week) and the need to attend classes. Although there are some lucky ones who manage to negotiate with employers and combine work and study.

The easiest and most effective way to find a job is to make many copies of your resume and send them to all online recruitment services, as walk-ins are not possible amid COVID-19.

Online postings can be found from cafes, restaurants, shops, and gas stations near your place of residence. They willingly hire students for part-time work. Small businesses may put up ads the old-fashioned way with a “Help Wanted” sign, so you should pay attention to them when walking.

Social connections can be of invaluable help in a job search. Inform all new acquaintances about your search for vacancies.

For formal employment in Canada (on campus or off campus), you will need a social insurance number. Students need to provide it to the employer within three days from the start of employment.

Getting a SIN is easy. When applying, international students must submit a study permit (student residence permit) issued by the Canadian government indicating that the holder “may agree to work” or “may work” in Canada as well as a study permit and confirmation letter “for off campus work” issued by the Government of Canada.

Combined programs (co-ops) meanwhile are very common in Canada and every year the number of universities and colleges providing such courses is increasing. In addition to lectures and seminars, the curriculum provides for a four months (or more) paid internship in their specialty. During this period, students do not attend classes, but work full-time – about 25-40 hours a week.

Canada encourages student employment and creates suitable conditions for this. Therefore, anyone who is looking for a job will definitely find it and the work experience accumulated during your studies will be very useful for finding an employer after graduation.