The federal government of Canada has introduced a series of travel restrictions and temporary adjustments to its immigration policy in light of COVID-19, which has affected the study permit and the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Here are a brief explanation and summary of what international students should know, as compiled by the Universities Canada, Canadian Bureau for International Education, and Colleges and Institutes Canada through Canusim News.

Delays in processing study permit

All international students need to obtain a study permit to study in Canada.

Some international students, however, may apply for a study permit from inside Canada, while in some cases, students may be able to apply when arriving in Canada at the port of entry (POE).

While Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) — the government Ministry in charge of immigration affairs — will still and accept and process study permit applications, there may be processing delays.

International students without a study permit can begin their program of study online from abroad, but do note that a permit is required for your studies to contribute to your future PGWP eligibility.

Delays in acceptance

What happens to your university acceptance letter if your school defers your May admission to September?

If you are in inside Canada at the time of deferral, students must get down to their studies within 150 days from the deferral date, or the following semester, whichever comes first.

If this is not possible, you will need to change your status, for instance, to a visitor status, or leave Canada.

PGWP eligibility with online learning

A big factor attracting international students to Canada is the opportunity to acquire work experience after studying. With PGWP, international graduates can work in Canada for up to three (3) years.

With most fall courses transferred online, would that affect their eligibility to apply for PGWP?

The answer is NO. If they have already secured a study permit or have been approved for one, international students may begin their classes while outside Canada and complete up to fifty per cents of their programme.

In this instance, you are qualified for the PGWP and will not have any time removed from the length of your future PGWP, until December. 31, 2020.

It’s worth emphasising that despite starting your studies online, you will need to be a full-time student to maintain future PGWP eligibility unless your school is currently not able to offer full-time study.

If your course has been shifted online and accounts for more than fifty (50) per cents of your overall study, you shouldn’t panic.

If you’re in Canada and your course has moved online due to coronavirus pandemic, you may still be eligible to apply for the PGWP, even if your online study now accounts for more than fifty per cents of your overall study.

Your eligibility for PGWP or Canadian permanent residence will also not be affected if you have accessed CERB as an international student.

Expiring study permits

Foreign students in Canada who have a work permit or study permit that will expire in the coming weeks, and are not able to get a new passport or access required documents, may apply online to renew their permit to trigger implied status.

This would enable students to continue working and studying in Canada while their applications are being processed.

Those who are not able to access required documents or obtain their biometrics must attach an explanatory letter explaining the situation. If your application is incomplete, it will not be refused, and you will have ninety (90) days to submit your documents.

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