Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has extended online delivery exemptions with respect to Post-Graduate Work Permit eligibility for international students as we have been calling for.
Those who have a study permit or who have been approved for a study permit for a program starting in May or June can begin and complete up to 50% of their program online from abroad in anticipation of a transition to Canada.
These are exceptional circumstances and appreciate this flexibility. Important decisions regarding the Spring/Summer intake can now be made with some clarity.
Online courses won’t affect your PGWPP eligibility
If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).
If you have a study permit, or have been approved for a study permit for a program starting in May or June, but you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions, you’re also still eligible for the PGWPP.
If you’re in this situation, you may
- begin your classes while outside Canada, and
- complete up to 50% of your program while outside Canada, if you can’t travel to Canada sooner.
Students with authorization to work
You can continue to work even if COVID-19 has forced you to become a part-time student or take a break in studies if you’re
- a full-time student
- authorized to work on- or off-campus while you study
If you’re working off campus, you can work up to 20 hours per week during an academic session. You can work full-time during scheduled breaks in the academic year.
Letter of support for future applications
If an officer asks you for more information about your time studying in Canada on an application in the future, your designated learning institution should provide you with a letter of support to explain how your studies were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
International students providing essential services
You’re temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours if you’re
- a study permit holder in an academic session
- eligible to work off campus, and
- providing an essential service
This change is in effect until August 31, 2020.
Under the standard processing guidelines for the PGWPP an international student graduating from an eligible Designated Learning Institution may be eligible for a work permit if the graduate has:
- completed a program of study in Canada (minimum 8 month duration);
- completed at least 50% of their studies in Canada; and,
- completed at least 50% of their studies in-class.
Additionally, any time spent studying towards a Canadian credential outside of Canada is deducted from the assessment of the length of the work permit.
As previously indicated, students who were already studying in Canada, and whose classes were moved online due to the travel and health restrictions introduced due to COVID-19 won’t be penalized with regard to their PGWPP eligibility, including the length of work permit for which they will be eligible. However, these students continue to be required to spend at least 50% of their time studying in Canada to be eligible for the PGWPP.
To address ongoing developments with respect to COVID-19, on April 7, 2020, IRCC introduced temporary policy changes, effective immediately. These temporary policy changes impact students who currently have a study permit, or who have been approved for a study permit, for a program starting in May or June 2020, but who are unable to travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions. For these students, if their in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, their eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program won’t be affected. International students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and may complete up to 50% of their program while outside Canada if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.
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