Canada Launches new study and work permit flexibility amid Covid-19 restrictions

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International students may now pursue their Canadian study program online from abroad with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, new measures announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have revealed.

The new rule will apply until April 2021, and as long the student eventually completes 50% of their studies in Canada.

To help students pursue study and work opportunities amid the pandemic, IRCC has introduced three new measures on PGWP eligibility for those who need or want to start their Canadian study program online from abroad.

Three changes being introduced by IRCC are:

  • Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program that is between eight and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from 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 post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.

To be eligible for these measures, IRCC said 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,” it stated, adding that 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 has introduced a range of measures in recent months aimed at supporting international students affected by the pandemic, from fast-track processing and a temporary two-stage process to accepting incomplete applications for study permits and PGWPs.

However, There has been much confusion about rules on travel restrictions, according to report byThe PIE News, with some Indian students saying, they were turned away from flights by airlines even though they have bought tickets, have study permits and believed they were allowed to travel.

IRCC’s latest announcement has been met with positivity by many of those working in the international education sector including ApplyBoard co-founder and CMO, Meti Basiri, who explained these additional measures demonstrate Canada’s ongoing commitment to the safety and support of international students studying abroad in Canada.

However, for some international students who have taken to social media, questions remain over the value of pursuing purely online education.

“Being a former international student in Canada, I feel that studying online will affect the future of applicants for becoming permanent residents in so many ways,” explained one Tweet.

“The time spent in Canada as a student helps in understanding the country and its work culture. I know so many students who successfully transitioned into full-time permanent employment from their part-time employment or the co-op work placement they had during their school.

“Coming to Canada directly on an open work permit, they’ll find it hard to get jobs that would further help them become eligible for permanent residence,” they added.

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