Major Changes in Canada Study and Work Visa in fall 2020

On May 14, 2020, IRCC – Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada announce major reforms that include making a major exception to the Post-Graduation Work Permit requirements for international students who are taking the class online this fall. 

Normally, online courses are not taken into account in the study requirement for a PGWP application. However, due to travel restrictions in Canada against coronaviruses, IRCC now allows international students to study online abroad and still be able to apply for a work permit after graduation.

New international students will be able to start their online programs at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in the fall of 2020 and complete up to 50% of the program abroad, and will then be able to obtain the PGWP to work in Canada. after finishing their studies.

The PGWP can be valid for a maximum of three years, depending on the length of an international student’s program in a Canadian DLI. In the reform announced this evening, IRCC also noted that international students will not have time deducted from the duration of their PGWP for the period they spent outside Canada, until December 31, 2020.

What makes this announcement a Major Change?

The PGWP is highly coveted among Canadian international students, as it allows them to work in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. Such work experience gives them a major advantage when applying for federal and/or provincial immigration.

Under the federal government’s Express Entry program, for example, former international students are rewarded with additional points (Comprehensive Ranking System – CRS points) for their education and work experience in Canada. Other than the express entry program, there are also various components of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) to help former international students to apply for Canada PR Visa.

This major announcement will encourage more international students to continue their studies in Canada this fall, rather than postponing their post-secondary studies. There are two major reasons for this:

  • International students who may wish to apply for Canadian immigration will want to take advantage of the opportunity to complete part of their studies in their country of origin while having access to the same benefits if they had been forced to study physically in Canada. 
  • Another major advantage is that the cost of studying in Canada will decrease for them, as they will not have to incur additional living expenses at the start of their Canadian studies.

Reasons for Canada to become more Attractive to International Students

Following are some of the reasons that make Canada world’ most attractive destination for international students:

  • Very high-quality education;
  • Students and their spouses and partners can work during and after their studies;
  • Opportunity to study and live in English and/or French environments;
  • A safe country;
  • Immigrants, international students, foreign workers and visitors from around 200 countries each year are welcomed in the country;
  • More affordable than other popular international student destinations; and
  • There are more than 80 pathways for international students to apply for Canada PR Visa; in 2018, nearly 54,000 former international students obtained permanent residence in Canada.

Development for Canadian Economy with these new announced reforms

The tuition fees that international students will pay will help support college and university jobs across Canada, and will definitely help in the development of the Canadian’ economy thanks to these new reforms. In addition, international students will support economic activity in many ways once they arrive in Canada, through their expenses, their work, and the taxes they pay as workers.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 640,000 international students in Canada contributed $ 22 billion annually to the economy and supported some 170,000 Canadian jobs.

Many of these international students will then become Canadian permanent residents, which will add a significant number of skilled workforce in the labour market. 

Although international students who received their study permit after March 18 are still unable to come to Canada, new permits are still being processed and IRCC says they will notify new students of the date to which they will be able to travel to Canada again.

International students must have completed a full-time program of at least eight months at a designated educational institution to be eligible for the PGWP. Their program of study must have led to a diploma, degree, or certificate. The ultimate duration of the PGWP depends on the duration of the student’s study program in Canada.

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