How much students can work while studying – latest info for 14 top study destinations

21-NOV-2022 | Opportunities to work during or after studies play a huge part in student decision making when planning for study abroad. ICEF Monitor created a summary of post-study work rights for 14 top destinations. You’ll also find information on how much students can work while studying.

Knowing that many prospective international students investigate work rights policies when making decisions about where to study, several governments have extended the time that students pursuing certain degrees and/or studying in specific fields can stay after graduation to find employment.

Here is a summary of post-study work rights policies at the end of 2022, and we’ve also added information about how much students can work while studying in each destination given high demand for this opportunity among international students right now.

Canada

Visa type: Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
Duration: 8–36 months, depending on the qualification
Minimum credential required: Diploma/certificate
Minimum study time: 8 months
NEW IN 2022: For several months in the pandemic, international students were permitted to complete 100% of their program with a Canadian institution from overseas and still be eligible for a PGWP. This is gradually being phased out, as per the following official guidance:

  • Students who begin studies with a Canadian institution between 1 September 2022 and 31 September 2023 must complete at least 50% of their program inside Canada (online or in-class). The time spent studying outside of Canada before 31 August 2023 won’t be deducted from the length of students’ PGWP as long as it constitutes less than 50% of their program of study.
  • Students who begin their Canadian study program after 31 August 2023 will not be allowed to count any time studying from overseas towards their PGWP.

Work while studying: International students with off-campus permissions on their Canadian study visa are permitted to work unlimited hours off-campus while studies are in session between 15 November 2022 to 31 December 2023.

United Kingdom

Visa type: UK Graduate Route
Duration: 24 months for bachelor’s and master’s degrees and 3 years for PhD
Minimum credential required: Bachelor’s degree
Minimum study time: 12 months
Work while studying: Students enrolled in full-time degree-level courses holding a student visa are permitted to work in the UK for 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time during holidays. Part-time studies do not provide a right to undertake any work in the UK.

United States

Visa type: Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Duration: 12 months (up to 36 months for STEM students)
Minimum credential required: Certificate
Minimum study time: 12 months
NEW IN 2022: An OPT permission of 3 years post-graduation is now available to F-1 students in 22 new fields of study. Also: In 2022/23, degree-seeking J-1 students and graduates in STEM fields can remain in the US for 3 years. Prior to this, the cap had been 18 months of work allowance for J-1 students.
Work while studying: F-1 students can work on-campus under certain conditions in their first year of studies, but not off-campus (with rare exceptions). Beginning in their second year, F-1 students can work off-campus through one of these programs: pre-completion Optional Practical Training (20 hours a week or less) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which can be full-time but often is not given that students are required to maintain a full academic course-load while they complete their CPT. Both OPT and CPT work must be related to the student’s field of study.

Australia

Visa type: Temporary Graduate Work visa (subclass 485) for international students who have graduated with a degree from an Australian institution
Duration: Between 2 and 4 years, depending on the qualification
NEW IN 2022: There is currently a Temporary Graduate Work visa (subclass 485) for students graduating with higher education degrees linked to identified workforce shortages. The allowance is 4 years for a bachelor’s degree, 5 years for a master’s degree, and 6 years for a PhD.
Work while studying: Until 30 June 2023, international students are permitted to work unlimited hours in any sector of the Australian economy while school is in session.

France

Visa type: Temporary Residence Permit
Duration: 12 months (longer for some nationalities)
Minimum credential required: Professional bachelor’s/master’s degree
Minimum study time: 3 years
Related:  Once students find a job, they can apply for a 4-year work permit. International graduates can work if they have a promise of employment that pays at least 1.5 times the minimum wage. A Talent Passport is available to researchers.
Work while studying: International students can work up to 964 hours per year on-campus or off-campus while studying in France.

Finland

Visa type: Residence Permit
Duration: 2 years (this was extended from 12 months earlier this year)
Minimum credential required: Bachelor’s degree
Work while studying: Part-time work is permitted (up to 30 hours per week) but it must be related to the student’s field of study. During holiday breaks, students can work as many hours as they like.

Germany

Visa type: Residence Permit
Duration: 18 months
Minimum credential required: Bachelor’s degree
Minimum study time: 3 years
Details: Graduates with this permit can work in any job while looking for full-time work related to their field of study. Once employed full time, they can apply for a 4-year EU Blue Card residence permit.
Work while studying: Non-EU students can work alongside their studies for 120 full days or 240 half days per year.

Ireland

Visa type: Third Level Graduate Scheme
Duration: 12–24 months
Minimum credential required: Level 8
Minimum study time: 12 months
Details: The Third Level Graduate Stream is designed for graduates to look for work or apply for a Green Card. Green Cards are awarded only when a job pays over €60,000/year, or is on a list of specified occupations, or pays over €30,000/year and will last at least 24 months.
Work while studying: International students can work 20 hours per week while studies are in session and 40 hours per week during the months of June, July, August and September and from 15 December to 15 January inclusive. 

Italy

Visa typePermesso di Soggiorno (Residence Permit)
Duration: 6-12 months to find a job
Minimum credential required: Level 2 master’s degree
Work while studying: Students can work up to 1,040 hours per year. This equates to 20 hours of part-time work for 12 months.

Japan

Visa type: Designated Activities visa
Duration: 360 days (basically a year).
Work while studying: Students can work up to 28 hours a week while classes are in session, and up to 8 hours a day during holidays.

Netherlands

Visa type: Orientation Year Residence Permit
Duration: 12 months
Minimum credential required: Bachelor’s degree
Minimum study time: 10 months
Related: Once students have found a job, they can stay in the Netherlands for as long as they have that job and also apply for a 4-year EU Blue Card residence permit.
Work while studying: Non-EU students can work part-time for up to 16 hours per week during their studies, and full-time in the months of June, July, and August. They require a work permit to do so.

Spain

Visa type: Residence Permit
Duration: 1 year
Minimum credential required: Bachelor’s degree
Work while studying: International students are permitted to work 20 hours per week while studying in Spain.

UAE

Visa type: 5-year long-term visa
Minimum credential required: Bachelor’s degree
Details: This visa allows “outstanding” graduates to find work, obtain work permits, and establish permanent residence in the country. Students must have a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation to be eligible for the visa.
Work while studying: Students can work 15 hours per week or 60 hours per month during sessions. During the summer vacations, students may work for 40 hours per week or 160 hours per month.

New Zealand

Visa type: Post-study Work Visa
Duration: 12–36 months
Minimum credential required: Certificate (more details here)
Minimum study time: 30 weeks
Related: Partners of international graduates holding this visa can apply for their own work visa; visa-holders’ children can study fee-free as domestic students.
Work while studying: Rules vary by level of study but students can generally work up to 20 hours per work during their courses


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