In the wake of Covid-19, Canada’s Minister of Immigration has announced several temporary policy changes to support and reassure international students and institutions of learning. It includes fast-tracking study permit processing and introducing a temporary two-stage process for international students who cannot submit all of the required documentation.
International students bring significant social and economic benefit; that is why Canada seeks to draw them to the country. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Canada was hosting more than 640,000 international students.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the changes would give more certainty to students about their ability to enter Canada once the restrictions on travel and health are eased.
The time a student applies for a study permit will now count towards a future postgraduate work permit – rather than when they were approved for one.
Eventually, students must be approved for a study permit and complete more than 50 per cent of their program in the nation. The approvals will be made in two stages of the visa process: eligibility and admissibility.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a news release published today that it will help international students as follows:
- IRCC will prioritize the processing of study permits for students who submitted a completed application online to process their permits as soon as possible.
- IRCC is introducing a temporary 2-stage approval process for international students who are not yet in a position to submit a completed study permit application and who wish to start their Canadian online education. This temporary process is available to students who want to start their program this fall and submit their application for a study permit by September 15 2020.
- As reported previously by CIC News in May, IRCC also allows students to start their Canadian studies online while they are still abroad and count that time towards their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility as long as they have submitted a study permit application. At least 50% of the program is completed in Canada.
IRCC stated that the temporary process would enable applicants to count the amount of time spent studying online abroad for their postgraduate work permit once they receive an approval in principle ‘as long as they can meet all requirements and receive full approval of their application for a study permit at a later date.’
As services start reopening, applicants will be required to submit the remaining documents and receive an approved study permit before travelling to Canada, “he explained.
This process is available to students beginning an autumn semester program who apply for a study permit before September 15, 2020.
If applicants pass the eligibility stage (showing that they have been accepted at a Canadian learning institution and, for example, have the funds available) they will be notified of a first-stage approval, IRCC explained on social media.
IRCC said students would receive final approval once they meet all eligibility requirements including submitting required documents such as biometrics, an immigration medical examination and a police certificate.
International students can take comfort in starting the Canadian online program that will protect their health and safety and enable them to achieve their various goals of study, career, and immigration.
If they wish to start their Canadian studies this fall, IRCC will make every effort to process their study permit as soon as possible. Even if the student is unable to submit a completed application for a study permit, IRCC will pre-approve it if it meets the conditions set out below.