New PGWP eligibility rules for international students studying online - CanImmNewsletter.com - Canada Immigration Newsletter
pgwp eligibility

New PGWP eligibility rules for international students studying online

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes that are being implemented to provide more flexibility on eligibility rules for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP eligibility rules) for students who start their Canadian study program online from abroad. Many prospective international students who would like to study in Canada this fall (2020) are facing uncertainty due to travel restrictions. IRCC recognizes this, and will continue to ensure that Canada’s immigration programs are flexible to respond to these uncertainties with 3 new measures added to PGWP eligibility rules for students beginning programs online.

To be eligible for these measures, students must submit a study permit application no later than September 15, 2020 for programs with a fall start date.

pgwp eligibility

Three changes to PGWP eligibility rules are being introduced:

  • Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 and 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.
pgwp eligibility

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.

To be eligible for these measures, students must have submitted a study permit application before starting a program of study in the fall 2020 semester, or the January 2021 semester. All students must eventually be approved for a study permit.

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The PGWP enables international students to gain Canadian work experience which is a crucial factor when they later apply for Canada permanent residence. After a student completes an eligible program at a Canadian university or college they can obtain PGWP to work for any Canadian employer, for a maximum duration of three years. The work experience significantly improves their Canadian PR chances.

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How your PGWP eligibility is affected

If you graduated or will graduate from a DLI that offers PGWPP-eligible programs, you’re still eligible for a post-graduation work permit if

  • your in-class courses in Canada are moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, or
  • you had to put your studies on hold or study part-time because of COVID-19 during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters

If you’re outside of Canada

You’re still eligible for a post-graduation work permit if you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions and

  • you have a study permit
  • you’ve been approved for a study permit
  • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program in the spring, summer or fall 2020 semesters, or
  • you will apply for a study permit before starting your study program in the January 2021 semester
pgwp eligibility

If you’re in this situation, you can begin your classes while outside Canada and

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  • complete 100% of your program online if
    • your program is between 8 and 12 months in length, and
    • you started your studies between May and September 2020
  • complete up to 50% of your program online (until April 30, 2021) if you complete the other 50% of your program in Canada
  • complete up to 50% of your studies online (until April 30, 2021) if
    • you’ll graduate from 2 different eligible study programs within 2 years of each other
    • 1 of the programs started between May and September 2020
    • each program is at least 8 months long, and
    • you complete at least 50% of the combined length of the programs in Canada

If you apply for your study permit before starting your program, any time spent studying online from outside Canada since spring 2020 now counts toward the length of a post graduation work permit. (Before, only the time spent studying online after you were approved for a study permit counted.)

You won’t have time deducted from the length of your post-graduation work permit for studies you complete outside Canada until April 30, 2021.

See IRCC Announcement: How your PGWPP eligibility is affected.

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See also IRCC makes temporary policy changes to support international students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.