The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made several new announcements that introduce a degree of flexibility for international students who are beginning their studies online from outside of Canada.
- Students are allowed to engage in online study through April 2021 and can (with some conditions) count those remote study hours toward eligibility for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) in Canada. At least 50% of their program should be eventually completed in Canada.
- All students who are enrolled in programs of 8-12 months in length, and with start dates between May and September 2020, will be allowed to complete their entire programs via online study while abroad. They will still remain eligible for a PGWP in Canada.
- Third, students who are enrolled in programs beginning between May and September 2020, who plan to graduate from more than one eligible program, may study online in the period up to 30 April 2021. They will be allowed to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a PGWP. In this case, too, they must complete at least 50% of their total studies in Canada
Eligibility for these programs:
Students who are eligible are required to submit/have submitted a study permit application before beginning studies in spring, summer, or fall 2020, or the January 2021 semester.
This is the latest guidance from IRCC and supersedes all earlier directives with respect to flexibility in the terms of the post-graduation work permit. This takes into account the continuing uncertainty around the mode of program delivery, as well as the challenge of securing international flights and study permits due to the ongoing pandemic.
What is the PGWP?
The PGWP (Post-Graduation Work Permit) allows international students who have completed a program of at least eight months’ duration to stay on in Canada while they gain valuable work experience. This experience is a valuable addition towards a future application for permanent residency in the country. Based on the length of their Canadian study program, they could be eligible for post-graduate work terms of up to three years, which can prove to be a stepping stone to permanent residency in Canada.
Canada’s popular Express Entry program relies on a points-based system for evaluating applicants and awards additional points for those who have completed post-secondary studies in Canada. With the work experience gained post their studies, students with Canadian work experience can accumulate further points. This is a powerful attraction for international students and contributes toward making Canada a preferred destination for overseas students.
These latest announcements from IRCC have been warmly welcomed by Canadian educators as well as students abroad.