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January 26, 2021

Important updates related to international students

International education remains a major focus of CICan advocacy efforts. Recognizing ongoing challenges related to travel, and that flexible program delivery, including virtual components, will feature prominently throughout 2021, we continue to advocate for the extension of provisions that allow for time spent studying online to count towards a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) to the end of 2021. Further flexibilities with respect to the 50% of requirement are also being sought. To address backlogs and reduce processing times, CICan continues to ask that study permits (including co-op work permits) be processed as a priority and that posted processing times reflect actual projections as opposed to historic data.

In addition to CICan’s latest International Partnerships Update, see below some important updates related to international students:

  • Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Testing: As of January 7, all travellers (with limited exceptions), including students, must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada The Government of Canada’s travel advice and advisories now include information on local government resources that provide testing. To protect against the spread of new variants, travellers from certain jurisdictions will be subject to secondary screening and enhanced measures, including increased scrutiny of quarantine plans.
  • Travel Exemptions and COVID-Ready DLIs: International students remain exempt from travel restrictions, provided they have a valid study permit (or letter of introduction indicating they have been approved for one) and are attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. The next update is scheduled for February 9.
  • Two-Stage Application Process: Though the majority of Visa Application Centres are now offering limited services, backlogs in certain jurisdictions and long posted processing times have made it difficult for some students to enrol and begin their studies on time. The two-stage study permit assessment process has therefore been extended to include study permit applications submitted on or before December 15, 2020.
  • Additional Opportunities for Post Graduate Work Permit Holders: In recognition of the significant challenges faced by Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Holders in obtaining necessary work experience, beginning on January 27, former international students who hold of held a PGWP will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit.
  • Employment Opportunity for International Students and Graduates: Statistics Canada is looking to fill 9,000 jobs for the upcoming 2021 Census of Population. Start and end dates vary by position and location but will be between March and July 2021 and are available across the country. Applications are now being accepted.

As the course of pandemic continues to evolve, we continue to monitor the situation and work with IRCC, other government departments and stakeholders to advocate on your behalf.