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Canada Introduces Measures To Support International Students Affected By The COVID-19

Canada has just introduced measures to support international students who wish to pursue Canadian education and work opportunities.

In a news release just released on its website, Canada immigration department or IRCC has introduced the following three measures on Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility for international students pursuing their Canadian studies online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • International students can now study online while abroad up until April 30, 2021, with no time removed from the length of their PGWP, so long as they concluded fifty (50) percent of their studies in Canada.
  • International students who have signed up for a program that is eight (8) to twelve (12) months in duration with a start date from May to September 2020 will be allowed to complete their entire program oversea and still be qualified for a PGWP.
  • International students who registered in a course with a start date between May and September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduated from more than one eligible program may be allowed to combine the length of their courses of study when they apply for a PGWP, as long as fifty (50) percent of the studies are completed in Canada.

The PGWP is highly sought after among people who wish to study in Canada. After a student completes an eligible program at a Canadian designated post-secondary institution (e.g., a college or university), they can obtain a PGWP for a maximum duration of three years.

The ultimate duration of the Postgraduate work permits depends on the length of time the individual studied at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

The PGWP enables these international graduates to then work for any employer in Canada. Former students hoping to become Canadian permanent residents look to harness the work experience they have acquired to enhance their Canadian immigration chances.

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

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the current travel restrictions in Canada, many international students are unable to enter Canada at the moment.

This has been problematic for a number of reasons. One such reason is that before COVID-19, distance learning could not count towards Post-graduation work permit eligibility.

This changed shortly after the pandemic when Canada made a series of changes and announcements to enable online learning to count towards PGWP eligibility.

The last major announcement came in May when the federal government stated online learning obtained up until December 31, 2020, could be counted towards PGWP.

In order to be eligible for these measures, international students need to have made an application for a study permit before starting any program of study in the spring/summer/fall 2020 semester or for the Jan. 2021 semester. Students will be eventually granted a study permit.

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