International students are of essential for the culture and economy of Canada. Canada’s 640,000 international students help to build a lively learning environment on campuses nationwide. They also contribute some $22 billion per year to the economy that supports about 200,000 jobs across Canada.
Recognizing that COVID-19 disturbances have also impacted international students, Canada has introduced several special steps to support the already-in-country international students, plus international students who wish to come to Canada in the immediate future.
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Current and former international students who need to extend their in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic.
Such individuals may benefit from an implied status when Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reviews their work/study permit extension application and may, therefore, continue to study or work in Canada under the terms of their original permit until IRCC decides on their pending request.
International students usually work no more than 20 hours a week while class is in session. Recently, however, IRCC lifted the ban. As a result, international students working in 10 priority sectors that help to counter COVID-19 will be able to do more than 20 hours a week until August 31. Those ten industries are:
- Energy and utilities
- Information and Communication Technologies
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has launched by the federal government to provide income support for those in Canada who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. The CERB is giving qualifying employees $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. Such income support may be provided to international students who meet the CERB’s eligibility criteria.
Permanent Residence Pathways
In recent years, more international students have transitioned to permanent residence. International students possess the main characteristics of human capital that federal and provincial governments search for when choosing immigrants.
They are young, they have a high level of education and proficiency in English / French, and they have Canadian experience. After the onset of the coronavirus epidemic, all levels of government have made further appeals to those with Canadian expertise to apply for permanent residency.
More Time to Submit Immigration Applications
IRCC has also been more lenient towards applicants for immigration, considering that coronavirus will affect their ability to send a completed request. IRCC has clarified that it will not reject incomplete applications and will include an additional 90 days for applicants impacted by COVID-19 to complete the missing steps.
Post-Graduation Work Permit
The Postgraduate Work Permit is critical to helping former international students obtain the Canadian job experience they may need to make their transition to permanent residence.
IRCC announced in early April that international students who have been accepted in May or June for a study permit to start their program in Canada would be able to begin their program online without impacting their eligibility to apply for a PGWP ultimately.
Moreover, in the absence of in-class teaching, the PGWP qualifications of international students already in Canada won’t be impaired by the online courses they are taking.
More Support for International Students on the Way?
Canada’s response to the coronavirus was remarkable, having gone above and beyond accommodating immigrants, international students and temporary foreign employees. Efforts by Canada to accommodate foreign nationals demonstrate significant differences between themselves and other countries, such as the United States.
One of the key takeaways since the start of the coronavirus epidemic is that Canada has actively been searching for new measures to accommodate immigrants. Not all of the steps mentioned above were carried out at once, but instead were gradually revealed as IRCC and other government officials in Canada considered how they could help needy foreign nationals.