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Gaining work experience while you are studying can give you a head start on achieving your career goals after you graduate. Each institution defines full-time studies and scheduled breaks in compliance with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Here are some resources to help you understand your enrollment status and working eligibility as a Douglas College student. 

On this page:

Enrollment Status & Working Eligibility

Semester Period or Program Enrollment

Off-Campus Working Eligibility1

First Semester All Students Usually 12 credits Up to 20 hrs/week

Winter Semester


(Jan - April)
All Programs 9 credits minimum Up to 20 hrs/week
Reading Week Scheduled Break Full-time
After the Last Day of Exam Period to First Day of Next Semester Scheduled Break Full-time

Summer Semester


(May - Aug)

Most Programs2

Optional enrollment
(Ø, FT, or PT okay)


Post-Degree Diploma & Certificate Programs3 9 credits minimum Up to 20 hrs/week
After the Last Day of Exam Period to First Day of Next Semester Scheduled Break Full-time

Fall Semester


(Sept - Dec)

All Programs
9 credits minimum Up to 20 hrs/week
After the Last Day of Exam Period to First Day of Next Semester
Scheduled Break Full-time
Last Semester Eligible Students4 Part-time or full-time enrollment Up to 20 hrs/week
 After Last Exam After the Last Day of Exam Period to Date of Graduation Letter n/a Up to 20 hrs/week


  1. ELLA (ESL) & Academic Foundations students are NOT eligible to work off-campus
  2. All Diplomas, Assoc. & Bachelor Degrees, Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas, PDD Professional Communication
  3. All Post-Degree Diploma & Certificate Programs except PDD Professional Communication
  4. If enrolled full-time in all previous semesters excluding scheduled breaks.
  5. You must be enrolled full-time in the semester before and after the Summer semester.

Documents Needed for Working

  1. Study permit - In some cases, your study permit also act as your work permit. Your study permit must say one of the following:
    • May work 20 hrs per week off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR, or
    • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
  2. Social Insurance Number (SIN) - A Social Insurance Number is required in order to work in Canada. To apply for your SIN, bring your valid study permit and passport and to the nearest Service Canada Office

If you study permit does not specify working conditions, you may request to amend your study permit with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) at no cost. If you are an ELLA student moving into an academic program, you may also apply for a Change of Conditions

Working On-campus

You may work on-campus without a work permit if you:

  • are a full-time student enrolled at Douglas College
  • have a valid study permit
  • have a valid SIN 

"On-campus" is defined as employment facilities within the boundaries of the campus. Students are only allowed to work on the campus at which they are registered as a FT student. Students cannot work at OTHER campuses affiliated with the College. For example, if you are enrolled full-time at the New West campus, you can only work at the New West campus.

The employer can be the institution, a faculty, a student organization, the students themselves (self-employment taking place on campus), a private business, or a private contractor providing services to the institution on the campus. IRCC does not regulate the amount of hours you can work on-campus. 

Working Off-campus

International students can work off-campus if:

  • You are a full-time student enrolled at Douglas College;
  • You are in an academic program that is at least 6 months in duration and that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate;
  • You have a valid study permit;
  • You have a valid SIN.

To maintain working eligibility off-campus (and eligibility for a Post-Graduate Work Permit), most students must be enrolled full-time (9 credits minimum) for the Winter and Fall semesters unless it is your last semester. Most PDD and certificate students must also be enrolled full-time during summer semester. See table above. 

For all other programs including ELLA, there is NO minimum enrollment requirement for Summer semester. Students may enrol as PT, FT, or take the Summer semester off.

Eligible students can work up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions once you have commenced your program of study. During Scheduled Breaks eligible students can work full-time regardless of your course load.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I work after off-campus during the break of two programs?

Answer: You may work full-time off-campus for up to 150 days from the date of your completion letter until the start of the new program only if:

  • met the eligibility requirements to work off campus as per Paragraph 186 (V)
  • have received the completion letter for the first program,
  • have submitted an application to extend your study permit before it expires, or have a valid study permit,
  • have been issued a letter of acceptance to a subsequent program of full-time study at a DLI

*If your new program starts more than 150 days after the completion of your first program, you should leave Canada until your new program begins or apply to change to visitor status.

Question: I am in ELLA program, and my study permit shows the conditions or remarks that allow me to work, can I work?

Answer: ELLA students are NOT eligible for working off campus until you commence your academic program.

Question: I will be part-time in the fall semester, can I work full-time during the previous summer semester?

Answer: No, you cannot work full time in the summer semester unless you hold full-time status during the academic session before and after your scheduled break.

Immigration Advising is available at the International Office with one of our International Student Advisors. Visit Services for Success for contact info and drop-in hours.

(Date modified: 2019-03-04)