Off-campus work

What is considered off-campus work?

Off-campus work is work that takes place outside the boundaries of the campus at which a student is registered. University-related work at facilities owned, operated, or affiliated with UBC located off-campus might be considered on-campus work in some cases.

Make sure you're eligible to work off-campus

You may work off campus starting the first day of the term you begin studies at UBC if you meet all of the following requirements:

You should also consider the following:

  • If you plan to work in jobs which require a medical exam, such as working with children or in health care settings, you must have taken a medical exam and have the right conditions on your study permit before starting.
  • If work is required for your program, you must have applied for a co-op work permit and receive it before starting your position, be eligible to work while you are waiting under the temporary co-op policy, or be eligible for the temporary exemption from the co-op work permit. Review the FAQ for details. 
  • If you are doing volunteer or unpaid work, this might still be considered work in Canada, and would count towards the 20 hours of work you are permitted to do off-campus (or more if eligible for the temporary off-campus work policy).
  • You aren’t allowed to work in jobs at risk of exploitation.
  • If you are enrolled in a UBC graduate program or the Diploma in Accounting, you must be enrolled full-time in the summer session to be eligible to work on or off campus.

Learn how your enrollment impacts immigration, including work eligibility.

Non-degree seeking students, including Visiting International Research Students (VIRS), visiting students, and unclassified students, are not eligible to work off campus, but you might be eligible to work on-campus.

How many hours can I work off campus per week?

Under normal circumstances, you can work up to a maximum of 20 hours a week for all positions combined (paid or unpaid) during regular academic terms.

IRCC created a temporary policy allowing some international students who are eligible to work off campus to work more than 20 hours a week between November 15, 2022 and December 31, 2023. Review the temporary off-campus work policy for important eligibility information.

You can work full-time during your program’s scheduled breaks if you’re enrolled full-time in the academic terms immediately before and after your scheduled break.

For example, if you are enrolled full-time in Winter Term 1 and will enroll full-time in the following Winter Term 2, you can work full-time during the winter break. There is no specific limit for full-time hours. If you are not full-time in the terms before or after the break, you cannot work during the scheduled break.

See definitions for immigration purposes for details. A summary is below.

Undergraduate, certificate, and diploma students

Your regular academic terms are:

  • Winter Term 1 (September to December)
  • Winter Term 2 (January to April)

You have scheduled breaks during the summer session (May to August), breaks between terms, and during Reading Week. Taking courses during the summer scheduled break does not impact your ability to work.

If you are not enrolled full-time in the terms before or after the summer scheduled break, you cannot work at all during the summer. Exceptions are if you enroll full-time in the summer session or if the summer session is your final academic term, in which case you can work up to 20 hours a week off campus (or more if eligible for the temporary off-campus work policy).

Graduate and Diploma in Accounting Program students

Your regular academic terms are:

  • Winter Term 1 (September to December)
  • Winter Term 2 (January to April)
  • Summer session (May to August)

You are considered to have an ongoing, full-time relationship with the university throughout the year. The summer session is not a scheduled break—you must be enrolled full-time to work, and you cannot work more than 20 hours per week off campus during the summer (or more if eligible for the temporary off-campus work policy).

You have scheduled breaks during breaks between terms and during Reading Week.

Exchange students

You cannot work during scheduled breaks, and can only work during academic terms if you are enrolled full-time.

When can I start working?

You cannot start working until you’ve begun full-time studies at UBC—starting from the first day of the term in which you are enrolled according to the Academic Calendar—and meet the above requirements.

When must I stop working?

You must stop working immediately if you no longer meet the above requirements. For example, do not work if your study permit expires and you did not apply to extend it.

If you are no longer enrolled full-time and take time away from studies, you are not allowed to work, and cannot work during the scheduled breaks before or after your break. Learn about taking time away from studies.

If you are an undergraduate or DAP student and withdraw from courses to a part-time course load, you must stop working right away, and cannot work during the scheduled breaks before or after you are enrolled part-time. Learn how your enrollment impacts immigration.

If you are in your final term

Undergraduate degree, certificate, diploma, or DAP students

If you are an undergraduate, certificate, diploma, or DAP student with fewer than 9 credits in your final term to finish your program requirements, you are considered full-time and can work.

If you are studying in a degree, certificate, or diploma program and are in your final term, regardless of when the final term occurs, you may continue to work off-campus until your Letter of Completion becomes available.

After you have finished your last program requirement, be sure to check every day if your Letter of Completion has become available. Starting from the day after your Letter of Completion becomes available, you must stop working until you meet additional requirements to resume working, such as one of the following:

Contact International Student Advising to discuss your options if you have not received your letter of acceptance for your next program yet, or if you have more than 150 days between programs.

Exchange students

You must stop working on the last day of the posted final exam period when your last enrolled term ends, according to the Academic Calendar.

If you plan to work on campus

If you are also eligible to work on campus, you can work on campus at the same time as working off campus.

If you plan to work off campus during your Co-op or internship

You must have a co-op work permit if work is required for your program, even if you are eligible to work off campus. You might be eligible to work while you are waiting under the temporary co-op policy, or be eligible for the temporary exemption from the co-op work permit. Review the FAQ for details. 

If you have a co-op work permit and you’re enrolled in a co-op position, internship, or practicum course, you can also work off campus for up to 20 hours per week (or more if eligible for the temporary off-campus work policy) at the same time, if eligible. Your co-op work permit can only be used for program-required work, and cannot be used to work additional hours off campus.

International Student Guide

Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC's Vancouver campus.

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Additional resources

If you have questions

International Student Advising is ready to support you on questions related to immigration, health insurance, and life as an international student in Canada.

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