Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has made a number of temporary policy changes intended to support international students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
Applying for a study permit
- Students who have submitted a complete application will receive priority processing and will be ready to travel to Canada soon after travel restrictions are modified.
- IRCC has introduced 2-stage study permit processing for students who can’t submit a complete application. This includes a first-stage eligibility assessment and a final decision based on admissibility requirements in the second stage.
- This allows applicants who have been unable to provide biometrics, police certificates or the results of an immigration medical examination to get an initial assessment. If approved, they can feel reassured that they have already met most of the criteria for a study permit.
- IRCC aims to process all first-stage eligibility assessments before the start of the fall semester. When a student is approved through both stages, they will be ready to travel to Canada once travel restrictions are modified.
Eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
- Students can study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, without affecting their eligibility or the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided they are able to complete at least 50% of their program in Canada.
- Students enrolled in programs between 8 and 12 months in length that started during the spring, summer or fall terms (from May to September) of 2020 will be able to apply for a post-graduation work permit if they complete their entire program outside of Canada.
- Students enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 who study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.
Students already in Canada
- Students in Canada in the winter, spring and summer terms who were forced to study online, reduce their studies to part-time, or take a break from their studies completely, as a result of restrictions on classroom learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are allowed to continue working on- or off-campus if their study permit allows it.
- Students already in Canada for the winter, spring and summer terms were assured that they wouldn’t lose their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit if they were forced to complete more than 50% of their program online, reduce their studies to part-time or take a break from their studies completely as a result of restrictions on classroom learning due to the pandemic.
- Until August 31, 2020, international students are permitted to work more than 20 hours per week off-campus during their academic session if they are employed in an essential service or function.
For more information
The most recent updates on changes affecting international students can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19.html.