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Exploring Co-op and Internship Opportunities in Canada as an International Student

Canada offers a wealth of opportunities for international students, including access to co-op and internship programs, which are instrumental in gaining valuable industry work experience before graduation. At Yanique Russell Law, we often receive inquiries from international students about their eligibility for these programs and how they can make the most of these opportunities.



Eligibility Criteria for International Students

Most international students in Canada can participate in co-op and internship programs, provided they are enrolled in a qualifying program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). These programs are popular among Canadian post-secondary students for the practical work experience they offer, which is a significant asset when entering the job market post-graduation.



According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), to qualify, international students must be part of an academic, vocational, or professional training program that requires work experience for completion. However, it's important to note that the work experience component cannot exceed 50% of the total program. Furthermore, eligible students must also secure a work permit in addition to their study permit to engage in co-op or internship programs.



Navigating the Application Process

To apply for a co-op or internship work permit, international students need to confirm their eligibility, which includes:

Holding a valid study permit.

Providing proof that their program necessitates work experience for completion. Obtaining a letter from their DLI confirming the requirement of work placements for graduation.


Interestingly, not all international students need to apply for a co-op work permit depending on when their study permit application was submitted and if they meet specific criteria.

However, students focusing on English or French as a Second Language (ESL/FSL), taking general interest courses, or preparing for another study program are not eligible for the co-op or internship work permit. Yet, they may still apply for a work permit to work in Canada.



Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for Your Permit

The application process for a co-op or internship work permit varies depending on the status of your study permit application and your location (inside or outside Canada). For students already in Canada, the application is straightforward and can be completed online through IRCC.

For those outside Canada or with pending study permit applications, the process involves using the IRCC webform to demonstrate enrollment in a mandatory co-op or internship program, or, if the study permit is approved, ensuring you have an acceptance letter that confirms the placement as part of your curriculum. For placements outside Canada, a co-op or internship work permit is not required.


The Government of Canada provides a useful online tool that guides permit-eligible students through a series of questions to receive tailored application instructions.



At Yanique Russell Law, we understand the complexity and nuances of navigating the Canadian immigration system for educational and professional development purposes. Our expertise in immigration law makes us a valuable resource for international students looking to enhance their education and career prospects in Canada through co-op and internship programs.


Source: Can I pursue co-op or internship programs as a Canadian international student | CICNEWS



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