International students studying online from abroad who submitted a study permit application no later than the end of August last year are getting an extra four months to qualify for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).
That allowance, first made in mid-August last year, was to expire on Aug. 31 this year but Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is extending it through to Dec. 31, 2023.
“Given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on international students and the post-secondary sector, temporary policy changes were made to the eligibility requirements for post-graduation work permits for … students enrolled in PGWP-eligible programs in progress in March 2020 (and) students who began PGWP-eligible programs between March 2020 and August 31, 2022,” notes the Canadian immigration department’s website.
“These temporary policy changes to the PGWP … are meant to facilitate the issuance of open work permits to former or current PGWP holders.”
When the measure was introduced last year, Canadian immigration explained it was a transitory measure to encourage international students to come back to Canada as the pandemic was waning.
The latest word from the IRCC is that the extended allowance will apply only to international students who either have a study permit, have been approved for a study permit or have submitted a study permit application before beginning their program that was eventually approved. Those students must have been enrolled in their programs prior to Aug. 31 this year.
“If a student spent time studying at a designated learning institution (DLI) while outside of Canada, that time begins to count toward the length of the PGWP only after the department receives the study permit application,” notes the IRCC on its website.
“As such, time that the student spent studying before IRCC received the study permit application should be deducted from the length of the PGWP.”
Under the temporary measure, international students enrolled in PGWP-eligible programs in March 2020 or who started their programs between March 2020 and Aug. 31, 2022 are exempt from the requirement to complete half of their program of study in Canada.
“Up to 100 per cent of their program can be completed online from outside Canada,” notes the IRCC.
“Up until Dec. 31, 2023, time spent studying outside of Canada can be counted toward the overall length of the PGWP
Those students can get up to 100 per cent of the credits for their programs completed online through a PGWP-eligible DLI in Canada until the end of this year without losing their eligibility for a PGWP.
The temporary measure also allows international students who were forced to put their studies on hold or become part-time students due to course cancellations as result of the public health measures in the winter, spring and summer semesters of 2020 to get a PGWP. Their eligibility is not for the work permit is not affected.