International students planning to begin studies in Canada in summer and fall of 2020 are now permitted to complete up to 50% of their programmes online if restrictions prevent them from travelling from their home countries.
The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that more flexible rules for student eligibility for Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) will remain in place for the rest of this year. The revised rules allow students to complete up to 50% of their studies remotely, from outside of Canada, without any impact on their PGWP eligibility. They will also not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to 31 December 2020. The IRCC statement explains, “Under normal circumstances, criteria for the PGWP limit an international student’s ability to pursue a programme via distance learning, from inside or outside Canada, and time spent studying outside Canada is deducted from the length of the work permit for which they are eligible.”
The PGWP allows international students who have completed a programme of at least eight 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. Depending on the length of their study programme, students may be eligible for post-graduate work terms of up to three years. This experience can in turn be a stepping stone to permanent residency in Canada. Canada’s Express Entry programme, for example, relies on a points-based system for evaluating applicants. Additional points are awarded for those who have completed post-secondary studies in Canada, and those with Canadian work experience can accumulate further points as well.