The travel restrictions caused by the COVID 19 pandemic have resulted in uncertainties for many people throughout the world and in Canada. One of the groups most heavily impacted by the pandemic era restrictions has been international students, as they were left in a state of limbo when the borders closed. Thankfully, there have been regulations passed since March 2020 that specifically address the concerns that international students have had caused by pandemic travel restrictions. Despite the strain on the immigration system caused by the pandemic, Canada has continued to provide additional ways for international students to come to Canada, such as by expanding the Student Direct Stream earlier this year.
Now, the Canadian Government provided another update to one of its international student programs, which represents good news for those students who intend to stay in Canada after their education in order to work here in the form of an extension of the online study eligibility period for Post-Graduation Work Permit applicants.
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program is described by the Canadian Government as a program that allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Having an open work permit means that the holder of the permit can work for an employer and is not just restricted to one job, which makes the Post-Graduation Work Permit a flexible option for international students.
The Post-Graduation Work Permit provides an avenue for international students to stay in Canada permanently, as experience gained through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program can help graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian experience class within Express Entry, and other immigration classes, as certain classes highly value Canadian work experience as part of the selection process.
Eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit is subject to rules set out by the Canadian government. For example, applicants can only receive one Post-Graduation Work Permit in their lifetime. Further, applicants to the program must hold valid temporary status or have left Canada, completed an academic, vocational, or professional training program at an eligible institution in Canada that is at least 8 months in duration leading to a degree, diploma or certificate, have maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the program or programs of study they have completed and submitted as part of their post-graduation work permit application and applicants must have received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible designated learning institution confirming that they have met the requirements to complete their program of study. Further, Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility is partly determined by the length of the study period of the applicant, as applicants with more than two years of study experience can receive a permit for up to three years in duration.
The Post Graduation Work Permit may not be available to all students who have graduated from a Canadian school because of the requirement that the graduate has graduated from a designated learning institution that makes you eligible for the Post Graduation Work Permit. If you are thinking of working in Canada after graduation, be sure to check the list of schools that allow you to apply for the permit in order to see if the permit is an option for you. Further, If you have applied for the Post-Graduate Work Permit, you are allowed to work while awaiting a decision on your application if you are or were a holder of a valid study permit at the time of the Post-Graduation Work Permit application, were a full-time student enrolled at a designated learning institution in a post-secondary academic or vocational or professional training program they were authorized to work off-campus without a work permit and did not exceed the allowable hours of work.
Part of the eligibility requirements for receiving a Post-Graduation Work Permit is studying in Canada. Studying online at a Canadian designated learning institution while outside of Canada did not meet the eligibility requirements in the past. However, with the onset of the pandemic, many designated learning institutions switched to primarily online study, which would have made international graduates ineligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit under the rules. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada recognized the problem with this situation and made it so that online study from outside Canada would count towards the Post Graduation Work Permit eligibility from March 2020 until December 31, 2021. With the December deadline quickly approaching, and the pandemic still ongoing, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced that it would be extending the time in which online study would contribute to Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility until August 31, 2022. This means that students can study online outside of Canada as part of their degree until August 31, 2022, and have that time contribute toward the eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. COVID-19 depending, it is possible Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada extends this deadline again, but if you do intend to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit it may be time to start thinking ahead to commit to in-person learning at a designated learning institution following the August 31 deadline.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. Our immigration lawyers successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. If you have any questions about preparing an application or other questions about the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.
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