International Students Can Now Do 100% Of Studies Online And Still Get PGWP

International students who finished their entire postsecondary program online will now be qualified for the three-year post-graduate work permit (PGWP) after graduation.

Ottawa is making it easier for international student graduates to be qualified for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before, online learning couldn’t count towards a PGWP application, but that has all changed.

“This new policy means that international students expecting to work in Canada after concluding studies will not miss out on opportunities, while ensuring that our economy and society continue to benefit from all that foreign students bring,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a media breifing. “Our message to international students and graduates is clear: we do not just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.”

This new measure to support international student graduates comes few weeks after IRCC announced that PGWPs can be renewed for up to eighteen (18) months. Normally, PGWPs have a fixed duration and cannot be extended or renewed.

The new measures concern international students who are enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program, and whose study program starts in any semester between spring 2020 and fall 2021. It also applies to those students whose study program was already in progress in March 2020 when Canada first went into coronavirus lockdown.

Foreign students also have to meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria, including the requirement to have an approved study permit.

In 2019, nearly over 572,000 international students contributed $21 billion to Canada’s economy, supporting 170,000 jobs via tuition and spendings. Also that year, more than 58,000 international graduates became Canadian permanent residents.

Canadian immigration has taken a hit due to the COVID-10 pandemic. Service disruptions and travel restrictions make it quite difficult for international students to come to Canada. Presently, international students can travel to Canada if they are going to a Designated Learning Institution that has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan.

PGWP Supports Permanent Immigration

The Postgraduate work permit allows international student graduates who studied at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada to work for any employer anywhere in Canada for up to three (3) years.

The work experience that graduates can acquire from a PGWP can support a future application for Canadian permanent residence through several immigration pathways. Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Program, and Quebec Experience Program, for instance, all highly value Canadian work experience and some programs require it.