Canada Announces Measures To Help Individuals Pursue Study And Work Opportunities

Canada announced three major measures to help individuals who wish to pursue study and work opportunities.

In a news release, just published on its website, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has set in motion the following measures on Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility for international students pursuing their Canadian educational programs online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • International students can now travel to Canada. Those studying online overseas will have no time deducted from the length of their PGWP, so long as they complete fifty (50) percent of their studies in Canada.
  • International students who have signed up for a program that is eight to twelve months in duration this year will be able to complete their entire program overseas and still be eligible for a PGWP.
  • International students who enrolled in a program with a start date between May and September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who completed studies from more than one eligible program may be able to add up the length of their programs of study when they file for a PGWP, as long as fifty (50) percent of the studies are completed in Canada.

The PGWP is highly sought after among students who intend to study in Canada. After a student graduated from an eligible program at a Canadian post-secondary institution (e.g., a university or college), they can acquire a PGWP for a maximum duration of three years. The ultimate duration of the PGWP depends on the period of time the persons studied at a Canadian DLI.

The Postgraduate work permit enables these former international students to work for any employer in Canada. Former students hoping to become permanent residents seek to harness the Canadian work experience they gain to enhance their immigration chances.

Gaining Canadian work experience can make people qualified for certain immigration pathways such as the Canadian Experience Class program. It can also provide them with extra points under Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System.

Because of the global pandemic and Canada’s current travel restrictions, many students are not able to enter Canada at the moment. This has been a major issue for a number of reasons. One such reason is that before the pandemic, distance learning could not count towards PGWP eligibility.

This changed almost immediately after the pandemic when IRCC made a series of announcements to allow online learning to count towards PGWP eligibility.

The last major announcement came in early May when the immigration ministry stated online learning obtained up until December 31, 2020, could be counted towards applying for a PGWP.

In order to be qualified for these new measures, international students need to have lodged a study permit application before starting a program of study in the spring/summer/fall 2020 semester or for the Jan. 2021 semester. International students must be eventually approved for a study permit and work opportunities.

IRCC concluded its news release by reiterating that Canada’s coronavirus related restrictions will be eased based on progress made in Canada and abroad in containing the spread of the virus. Canada will continue to monitor the international situation as it explores additional changes to make.

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