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International Students Taking Online Coursework Now Eligible For PGWP

International students taking their Canadian study program in the coming weeks will not be sanctioned for online coursework if they eventually file for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

The PGWP enable international students to work in Canada for about three years. It is a pathway to acquire Canadian work experience, which is highly valued in economic class immigration streams that lead to Canadian permanent residence.

Canadian government research reveals that those with Canadian experience prior to becoming Canadian permanent residents tend to integrate quickly into the labour market and find jobs easily. As such, many of Canada’s more than eighty (80) economic class immigration streams reward candidates who have Canadian experience with additional points or are geared specifically for international students.

Under normal circumstances, foreign students must have continuously studied full time in Canada in a program that is at least eight months long in order to qualify for this work permit. Taking online coursework could render an applicant ineligible for a PGWP.

These temporary reforms are yet another step taken by the Canadian government to make its immigration policies more flexible and avoid interrupting the plans of immigration clients during a period in which it is seeking to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Given that many academic programmes were forced to move online in accordance with COVID-19 prevention measures, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are allowing foreign students enrolled in these courses to qualify for a PGWP.

This also includes international students who have a study permits, or who were approved for a course starting in May or June, but who are unable to come to Canada amid travel restrictions.

Students in this predicament can start taking their online classes while outside Canada and may complete up to half of their program while abroad if they cannot come to Canada sooner.

Currently, Foreign students who were approved for a study permit after March 18 are not exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions, which is set to be in place until June 30.

Canada’s temporary reform will be welcomed by the many international students who desire to eventually transition to permanent residence.

According to a survey by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, Sixty (60) per cent of Canada’s international students show this desire. Getting a PGWP is an important stepping stone for such students as it allow them acquire Canadian experience which they often need to become qualified for an economic class immigration program.

In 2018, about twenty-five per cent of the nearly 90,000 people who got an invitation to apply under Express Entry were former international students.