Canada may allow international students be able to travel to country soon. In a letter obtained by our reporter, the country may ease travel restrictions for students in time for the fall 2020 semester.

The undated letter was signed by health minister Canada’s Patty Hajdu and immigration minister Marco Mendicino.

It aims to engage in a dialogue with Canada’s provincial and territorial governments and post secondary learning institutions (also called designated learning institutions (DLIs)) about ways to safely welcoming more international students to Canada in the next coming months.

DLIs are higher institution including colleges, universities and other post secondary institutions approved by the government to host international students.

Under the Canadian law, only provincial and territorial governments have exclusive responsibility for all levels of education.

As such, the federal government of Canada have to consult with the provinces and territories to get their input and support when making a decision on international students.

According to CIC News, the letter does not necessarily mean that federal government will exempt more international students from its current travel restrictions moment soon.

It is , however, strongly suggested that Canada will introduce new exemptions for foreign students as long as it is safe to do so. This will depend on respective provinces and territories, as well as post secondary institutions confirming that they are equipped and ready to welcome more international students.

Content of the Letter

In the letter, both ministers noted “we are confident that all levels of government in Canada recognizes the role and impact of the international student sector to educational learning institutions and communities across Canada”.

They added that before they can think of opening their borders to fresh students and their immediate family members, they have to “collectively commit to and adopt a clear, coordinated and well-communicated approach to support the health and safety of students and the general public”.

The ministers noted that the federal government of Canada will be issuing instructions and guidance on how the country can welcome international students.

The guidance will states the expectations for students, governments and DLIs in supporting this objective, and may be reviewed if the situation changes.

The ministers asked institutions to confirm whether their jurisdiction is ready to host a new category of international students and their immediate family members by July 24, 2020.

The current situation in Canada

Currently, students from foreign countries other than the United States may not be allowed entry into Canada if their study permit application was approved after March 18, 2020.

Canada’s immigration office or IRCC had said on its website that foreign students with a valid study permit or were approved for a study permit prior to March 18, 2020 may enter the country only for “non-optional or non-discretionary purpose”.

New guidance on IRCC’s website on Friday, July 24, 2020 exempts students from the United States from travel restrictions, but they must still meet other certain criteria to enter Canada.

Canada has introduced various policies to support international students during coronavirus pandemic, such as a new two-step Canadian study permit approval process which will enables students to begin the semester online without a finalised study permit.

Currently, students in foreign countries can also study online and have that time count towards their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility.

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