May 14, 2020

Announcement about post-graduation work permit eligibility for programs of study beginning in September 2020

Update from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had important impacts on international education. Travel and health restrictions that have been put in place have prompted many designated learning institutions to begin offering their courses online, and to consider how they will approach the beginning of classes in September 2020.

As a result, your students may want to know what impacts this might have on their eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

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 (minimum 8-month duration) in Canada
  • 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.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has sought to provide clarity on the impacts of distance learning for students’ eligibility for the PGWPP through 2 separate temporary policy changes.

  1. For students who were already studying in Canada, their eligibility will not be impacted by institutional closures or a move to distance education.
  2. For study permit holders and those approved for a study permit who were to begin studies in May and June 2020, these students will maintain their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit provided they are able to complete at least 50% of their program of study in Canada.

Today, we are announcing further temporary policy changes:

  • Eligibility for the PGWPP will not be affected for students who begin their studies in fall 2020, and whose in-class courses are moved to an online-only format as a result of COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • These students will not have time deducted from the length of their work permit for any period of study completed outside of Canada up to December 31, 2020.

We encourage you to communicate these temporary policy changes with your international students and other interested stakeholders within your institution to ensure they are aware of the benefits that international students may be eligible to receive at the completion of their program of study.

Thank you for your collaboration and understanding, as we manage through these unprecedented times.