The COVID-19 pandemic is putting a stop to several industries- two of them being travel and education. With rapidly rising cases and fast spread of infection, individuals are under pressure to stay home. This is terrible news for students who are already studying abroad or who are preparing to leave for university courses abroad.
In all of this, there is some excellent news!
Canadian officials are announcing three new elements that will provide flexibility for International students. This new system is advantageous for current students as well as those who are just beginning their courses from Universities in Canada. The method of online classes will also play a factor in eligibility for post-graduation work permits in the country.
Here is everything you need to know about the guidance from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), as on August 26th, 2020:
- Till the period of April 30th, 2021, IRCC is allowing students to begin their semester studies online, rather than physically. This measure is due to the travel restrictions as well as lockdowns in the country. The remote reviews will also be a factor to take into consideration for students looking for eligibility for PGWP (Post Graduation Work Permit). However, this eligibility will fall under consideration only if students complete at least 50% of their graduate program in Canada, eventually.
- Students, who have enrolment in shorter programs- between 8 and 12 months in length, are also able to complete their entire course online. This applies only to classes that start from May to September 2020.
This is a great advantage, as it might be difficult for these students to try and complete 50% of their courses from Canada. The most significant benefit for these students is that even upon completion of their entire course via online students, they are still eligible for PGWP in Canada.
- Lastly, some students enroll in more than one program in Canada. These courses must begin anywhere between May and September 2020. The students may also study online only till the period of April 2021.
The benefit that these students will get is that they may combine the length of these programs of study. This can be an advantage for when they are applying for PGWP. However, it is a must for them to complete at least 50% of their program in Canada.
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It is important to note that students are eligible for these options only if they submit a study permit application before beginning their courses either in spring, fall, summer of 2020, or before the January 2021 semester begins.
How has the IRCC increased flexibility for student eligibility for PGWP in Canada?
The easing of these PGWP rules would be previously applicable only to students who would apply to begin their studies in May and June of 2020. However, the IRCC makes these rules even more flexible now, owing to current conditions and restrictions set in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new flexibility now ensures that these rules also apply to those students who were intending to commence their studies in Canada this fall.
The revision of these rules now allows students to complete 50% of their course program while still living abroad or in their home countries. This move will not impact their eligibility for PGWP in Canada and is a welcoming initiative.
How is this different from the PGWP guidelines pre-Covid-19?
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the criteria for eligibility for PGWP would limit the international students’ ability to pursue their courses via distance learning programs. This applies to students opting for distance courses both inside as well as outside Canada. The time that the student is spending studying outside Canada is eventually cut out from the total length of the work permit for which they would otherwise be eligible.
Additionally, there will be no time deduction from the length of any future PGWP for studies that the student completes outside Canada up until December 31st2020.
This move is tremendously beneficial to students who are set to begin their courses from Universities in Canada from fall 2020. These students may not be able to travel from their home countries due to Covid-19 restrictions. Fortunately, they may begin their courses online and complete up to 50% of their course via online studies without it impacting their PGWP eligibility.
What is the significance of this move?
To understand the significance of this move, you must understand the importance of the post-graduation work permit.
Post-graduation work permit in Canada allows students to stay in Canada to gain valuable work experience. To be eligible for the PGWP, students must complete at least an eight-month course from a University in Canada. In case a student applies for distance learning, the period that they spend outside Canada eliminates from the period of their work permit.
According to the duration of their study program, students may even be eligible for a PGWP for three years in Canada.
This experience that new students can get from working in Canada with a PGWP can help them in gaining permanent residency in the country.
The Express Entry Program in Canada relies on a points basis system for evaluating applicants. Students who complete post-graduation studies in Canada gain additional points. Moreover, students who have work experience in Canada earn even more points. The accumulation of these points plays a crucial factor in their final evaluation process.
The availability of this PWGP is a strong point which most students will consider. However, the Covid-19 restrictions are not allowing students to opt for physical presence in Canada for their courses.
This is where the significance of these new guidelines comes into play!
In conclusion, the new guidelines and relaxation of rules, are facing a warm welcome from students, Canadian educators, as well as partners and agents from all over the world.
For students who have been uncertain about the future of their studies, work permits, and eventually their permanent residencies in Canada, this move comes as a huge relief. Students may now begin their courses online (till April 2021) and can do so without worry about their PGWP!