Canada Exempts International Students from In-Class Course Work In Wake of COVID-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the state of immigration in Canada, some good news is that study permit holders will still be able to begin their study programs through online coursework and even apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after completion.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classrooms across Canada have shut down, with students continuing their education through online learning in order to comply with coronavirus prevention measures. As a result, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has decided to make this option available to study permit holders already enrolled in courses while allowing them to still be eligible for a PGWP.
The new rules apply to both students who currently have a study permit or were accepted into a program set to begin in May or June but are unable to travel to Canada due to travel restrictions.
A PGWP allows international students to obtain employment and work in Canada for up to three years after completing their post-secondary program and eventually apply for permanent residence. This is a popular option as it gives newcomers the work experience needed to be eligible for an economic class immigration program and apply for permanent residency.
It’s estimated that 60 per cent of Canada’s international students go on to apply for a post graduation work permit, and one-quarter of the 90,000 Express Entry applicants that received an invitation to apply in 2018 were former study permit holders.
Prior to the pandemic, studying online could have rendered a study permit applicant ineligible for a PGWP, as international students are typically required to study in Canada full-time in a program longer than eight months in order to be eligible.
This temporary reform is yet another step taken by Canada to make its immigration policies more flexible and avoid disrupting international students’ plans during the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing them from obtaining a PGWP upon graduation.
Unfortunately, international students that were approved for a study permit after March 18 are currently not exempt from Canada’s travel ban, which is expected to last until June 30.
However, study permit holders that are unable to travel to Canada will be able to begin their studies online outside Canada and complete up to half of their program while abroad if travel restrictions are not lifted sooner.