Studying in another country isn’t just about learning; it’s also an opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of a new place.

Not just that, many international students also use the opportunity to gain international work experience by finding a job or internship program to enhance their resume.

Whether you’re into adventures or seeking work experience, you can work while studying with a student visa.

Let’s explore the options for working and studying in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada together.

Ways to Gain Work Experience as an International Student

Internships Available Through Your University

University career centers provide details about internships or work opportunities you can apply for, similar to regular jobs. These internships usually have specific rules about the number of hours international students are allowed to work.

Study and Gain Experience With a Co-Op Program

Some universities have programs where you can work and learn at the same time, called Co-Op. These internships last 6-12 months and let you get real-world experience while you’re still in school. Co-op degrees often don’t have strict work hour rules, but that can vary by country.

Choosing Work Placement Courses

If your degree doesn’t have a built-in internship, there could be other choices. Some universities provide courses where you work and study for a semester in a field related to your degree. Typically, these courses are open to students in their second year or later for undergraduates and to most postgraduate programs.

Choosing a Program that Suits Your Work and Study Goals

Remember that each country has its own rules and job options for students from other countries. If you plan to work while studying abroad, your visa will play a big role in what you can do. The details I’m about to share about working hours are just a basic overview. If you’re curious about your possibilities in a specific place as an international student, there’s a lot more to explore based on the rules there.

Working Hours for International Students in the UK

During Your Degree

While studying in the UK on a student visa, international students are allowed to work. During the university term, they can work up to 20 hours per week, and during holidays like semester breaks, they can work full-time. However, the job cannot be a permanent one, so students can only work part-time or casually. There are no restrictions on the types of places where they can work, but they cannot have a permanent position. You cannot:

• Be self-employed (such as a contractor or freelancer)

• Work permanently full-time (permanent part-time is allowed)

• Be an entertainer or sportsperson

Internships While Studying

If your degree program includes a mandatory work placement or internship, you can work full-time even if your visa doesn’t normally allow employment. This exception only applies to internships or work placements that are part of your university course requirements, not those you find on your own.

After Graduation

Your job options in the UK after finishing your studies depend on your degree and field of study. If you have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, as an international student, you can work full-time for 2 years after graduating. If you have a PhD, this period extends to 3 years under a Graduate visa. There are also other work options like the Skilled Worker and Start-up routes, which are based on your skills and can last up to 5 years. It’s important to note that many of these post-graduation routes don’t contribute to getting permanent residency in the UK.

Working Hours for International Students in Ireland

During Your Degree

If you’re an international student studying in Ireland, you can work part-time for up to 20 hours a week when classes are in session and up to 40 hours a week during the holidays. However, the government sets a specific time for these holidays, which applies to all international students, regardless of their school schedules. During this holiday period, which aligns with the usual breaks between semesters, you can only work up to 40 hours a week.

After Graduation

You can get a visa through the Third Level Graduate Program, which gives international students a 1 or 2-year visa to work up to 40 hours per week after finishing studies at an Irish University. It’s important to know that this program counts towards the maximum 7-year study limit in Ireland.

Another option is if you get a job offer after graduating, you can apply for the General Employment Permit or Critical Skills Employment Permit, especially if your job is in a field where the Irish Government needs workers. For those doing research, there’s a Research Hosting Agreement you can apply for to stay in Ireland after finishing your studies.

Working Hours for International Students in Canada

During Your Degree

If you’re an international student working in Canada, the hours you can work depend on whether it’s on-campus or off-campus. If you’re working on campus, like at a café, bookstore, library, or as a tutor, there’s no limit to how many hours you can work. You can also have another job off-campus if you want, but check your student visa to make sure it allows on-campus work.

If you work off-campus, which means at a place not on the university campus, you can work up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. During breaks, you can work full-time, but there’s no specific limit set by the Canadian government on what’s considered full-time during breaks. If you’re self-employed as an international student in Canada, just make sure to keep records of your earnings to show that you’re following the rules for off-campus work.

Only international students whose visa says they are eligible for off-campus employment are allowed to do so. Students only taking general interest courses or are only enrolled in an English or French as a second language program are not eligible to work off-campus.

After Graduation

After graduation, international students can apply for a Postgraduate Work Permit (PGWP). With this permit, they can stay in Canada and work after graduation. There are no limits on the number of hours they can work, and the duration of the PGWP depends on how long their study program is. It’s important to note that only programs from specific universities and colleges called Designated Learning Institutions qualify for a PGWP, so it’s crucial to check this before applying.

Work in Canada With a Co-Op Program

If you’re an international student who wants to study and work in Canada, there’s another choice called the International Experience Canada program. With this program, you can apply to stay in Canada for up to two years. You have two options: you can either join a Co-Op program or work in Canada after you graduate. Plus, you get an open work permit.

Working Hours for International Students in the US

During Your Degree

Regulations regarding working hours for international students in the US also depend on whether you are working on-campus or off-campus. During your first year of studying, you can only work on campus. But after that, you can also work off campus.

International students in the US can only work off-campus in specific situations. They need to apply separately and show that they are facing financial difficulties or other challenges that make it necessary for them to seek off-campus employment while studying. Another option is working off-campus if the job is related to their field of study, either through Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). Both a school official and the US government must approve this.

The working hours for both on-campus and off-campus employment are up to 20 hours per week during the semester, and full-time during semester breaks.

After Graduation

If you’re an international student studying in the US, you can apply for OPT (Optional Practical Training) after you graduate. OPT allows you to work in a job related to your field of study. But if you work during your studies, that time will be subtracted from the maximum OPT period you can get after graduation.

For non-STEM graduates, the OPT period is up to 1 year, while STEM graduates can get up to 3 years. There’s no limit on the number of hours you can work, but you must work at least 20 hours per week to maintain your postgraduate OPT status.

Working Hours for International Students in Australia

During Your Degree

International students in Australia can work up to 48 hours every two weeks, and there is no limit during official university breaks. To work and study together, students must keep their student status and make progress in their courses. You can have different jobs and employers as long as you follow the hourly limits.

After Graduation

If you’re an international student who finished a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD degree, you can apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485). The eligibility depends on your previous visa and the field of study:

• Post-Study Work Stream: 2-4 years granted to live and work in Australia after graduation

• Graduate Work Stream: up to 24 months granted to live and work in an in-demand occupation

• Second Post-Study Work Stream: a renewal of 1-2 years granted to students who graduated from an Australian university in a Regional Area.


This article is an overview of international student working hours.

To have a personalized discussion regarding your options for jobs, internships, and post-graduate work permits for international students, click on the link to book a free inquiry call with the Kisha team –

For more information about our admission and study permit application service kindly reach out to our team at +2348165165009 or +14034376814 or Visit our website

Kisha Immigration is a licensed Canadian immigration company

Take a Free Assessment for Canada Immigration
Useful Links

The information on this site is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice

Copyright 2023. All Right Reserved.
Go To Top

Request a Call Back