International students that want to start their studies in Canada are facing many uncertainties due to COVID-19 related restrictions, specifically travel restrictions. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has just announced important updates to post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility, providing students that have to start their studies online with more flexibility.
The three new measures being introduced are:
- Students can study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future PGWP, as long as 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada
- Students enrolled in a program that is 8-12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, can complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a PGWP
- Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date between May to September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a PGWP in the future, as long as their total studies are completed in Canada
To be eligible for these measures, students must have submitted a study permit application before starting a program of study in the spring, summer, or fall 2020 semester, or the January 2021 semester. All students must eventually be approved for a study permit.
The easing of COVID-19 related restrictions will depend on the progress made in Canada and around the world in containing the spread of the coronavirus. IRCC will continue to closely monitor the situation and assess whether further changes are needed.