International Students

International students CAN work in Engineering Co-op positions - Co-op offers international students an excellent opportunity to gain Canadian work experience. However, you must have the required documentations and approvals to gain legal permission to work off-campus in a Co-op position.

Apply for a co-op Co-op Work Permit as soon as you join the co-op program:

  • Request a letter from ECCS office for the application of a co-op work permit
  • Apply via the CIC website and follow the instructions concerning a Co-op Work Permit application.
  • When you recieve your Co-op Work Permit, please note the expiry date as you may need to apply for renewal if it expires before you graduate. To gain an extension, you must reapply for another permit BEFORE the current permit expires.
  • Bring a copy of the Co-op work permit into the ECCS office.
  • Please note: NO ACCESS to OSCARplus co-op postings or recruitment activities will be given to students who do not have a valid Co-op work permit on file with ECCS.

The ECCS office is not allowed to help you fill out the application!

The CIC Call Centre can answer questions at (1-888-242-2100) or via e-mail


Once you are offered a Co-op job:

  • Obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN):

    Once you have your work permit, and before you start work, you must obtain a Social Insurance Number or SIN. This is provided by Service Canada and will be given to you the same day you apply for it – you must show your valid Co-op work permit to obtain the SIN. The closest Service Canada office is located 1550 Upper James Street , Floor 1 in Hamilton. Your Co-op employer needs your SIN number before you can start work.

  • Maintain UHIP coverage for work terms starting in September:

    The annual UHIP fee will be charged to your student account and must be paid in September if you have a work term that extends into the fall.

Please Note: If your student account is in arrears, you must pay off the outstanding balance first before UHIP can be arranged. Failure to obtain UHIP will result in your work term being cancelled.

For co-ops outside Ontario or OUTSIDE Canada, please contact the Student International Services Office for details on UHIP coverage.


Other considerations:

  • SIN Extensions: When you receive your SIN card, it will have an expiry date. This card will need to be updated by Service Canada if your work permit has been extended beyond the original date.
  • Security Clearance/Background Checks : Some Co-op positions (nuclear or military industry) may require a Security Clearance before you can start your work term. Security checks for International students may take months before clearance is obtained, if you have lived outside of Canada, in the last 5 years. The ECCS office cannot help speed up this process.  Please be aware of this when applying to positions that request Security Clearance or background checks.

  • Please note: Students that fail to have appropriate work permits or health insurance coverage will not be permitted to start, or continue with, their Co-op work term.