International students with admissions to Canada, whose courses are now being delivered online need not worry about their Post-Graduate Work Permit program. This is a significant development in that distance or online learning courses are not normally classed as eligible studies for purposes of a PGWP application.
Pursuant to social distancing guidelines in Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, college campus facilities are closed. Colleges therefore currently offer distance learning, which consists of online platforms, virtual services and teleworking operations. Learning at a distance is expected to continue until at least to the end of the semester. In a guidance updated on March 29, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirmed that eligibility for the Post-Graduate Work Permit program will not be affected for those international students whose courses are now being delivered online on “an exceptional basis due to COVID-19”.
The very-popular PGWP program allows international students who have completed a programme of at least 8 months’ duration to stay on to gain valuable work experience in Canada, experience that can count towards a future application for permanent residency in the country.
Most colleges are preparing online programme offerings for both the summer and fall 2020 semesters, and will be announcing available programmes in the near future. This will allow students who are unable to travel in the coming months to start their studies from their home country.