Major changes have been made to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) rules for International Students

Major changes have been made to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) rules for International Students

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, International students could be disqualified from obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after graduation due to taking too many online classes, missing a school term, or undertaking part-time studies. However, the IRCC has stated that now International students will be eligible to apply for the PGWP even though they are taking their courses online due to the COVID-19. They will still be eligible for a 3-year PGWP after coming to Canada.

In order to be eligible for the PGWP international students must have completed an FT program of study (Diploma/degree or certificate) of at least 8 months at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). It should be noted that the duration of the PGWP will depend on the length of the student’s Canadian program of study. Working experience is very important for those international students who wish to apply for permanent residency under the Express Entry system. For their Canadian education and working experience, former international students will be awarded additional CRS points when they submit their federal and/or provincial immigration applications.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has disrupted life around the globe. It appears that the concerns for potential disruption are shared by students worldwide. To aid them through these uncertain times, the Government of Canada has devised a range of special measures among which in this new reform announced during the evening of May 14, 2020.

With this new reform International Students will be allowed to start their program of studies at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) online in fall 2020 and complete up to 50% of their studies while they are abroad if they cannot travel to Canada sooner. It should be recalled that in early April, the IRCC had first applied this measure only to international students whose semester started in May/June. This new change to the PGWP rules is an extension to international students whose courses will start in September 2020.

While being in their countries of origin, international students will still be able to access the same benefits had they been required to physically study in Canada. Further to that, they will also benefit from a reduced cost of study since they will not have to cater to additional living expenses at the start of their Canadian education. The IRCC has also pointed out that those international students who will start their studies in fall 2020 will not have time deducted from the length of their post-graduation work permit for studies they completed while outside Canada between fall 2020 and December 31, 2020.

IRCC has also indicated that new study permits are still being processed even though international students who received their study permits after March 18 are still not able to travel to Canada. Students will be notified by the IRCC in due course as to when they can travel to Canada.

Canada has been an attractive place to study for years due to the following:
 Very high quality of education;
 Opportunity for bilingual studies;
 Both students and their spouses/partners can work during their studies;
 Affordable international students’ destination partly due to Canada’s weaker dollar;
 Over 80 PR pathways for international students such as PNP, Canadian Experience Class (CEC) nominations under Express Entry Category among others.

In fact, some of Canada’s best immigrants have been international students that have studied and worked in Canada. International students make up a significant proportion of the Canadian university population. Every year International students contribute around $22 billion to the economy and help the labor market situation. They also increase the social and cultural diversity of the campuses, enriching the research and learning environment, and helping home students to develop internationally relevant skills.

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