How Travel Bans and School Closures might affect your PGWP eligibility
Posted on 17/03/2020
The following information has been updated since this post. Please check our newer blogs published in 2021.
Canadian Designated Learning Institutions are likely considering ramping up online learning platforms to deal with the COVID-19 travel ban announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as the closing of schools in Ontario through April 5 with their planned reopening for April 6. That means that many international students who had been planning to start their studies in May would be able to do a part of their program online, rather than having to delay or even cancel their studies in Canada.
While increased online components of programs at DLIs (Canadian post-secondary schools) is not yet a reality, it is likely to become so in the near future. What might this mean for your status as a full-time international student who seeks a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) after you graduate?
While this is a very fluid situation, here are several possible consequences for international students due to the travel ban.
- Currently, if your program has more than 50% of it’s content provided online, or in the IRCC’s language by “distance learning”, you are ineligible for a PGWP (Post-Graduate Work Permit). This is something that the IRCC should consider providing relief for considering the travel ban.
- Remember as well, that to qualify for your study permit or your PGWP, you must maintain your full-time status. If your Designated Learning Institution changes some of your course schedules and reprograms your course load, you must ensure that you still meet your school’s threshold for full-time studies. That might mean scheduling an extra course for a term, for example, to ensure you remain eligible for a PGWP at the end of your studies.
- The IRCC assesses your studies as being eligible if you take your online component while in Canada. If you take your online component while overseas, however, that portion will be deducted from your overall program length. Remember you must meet minimum lengths of study in your program to be eligible – a minimum of 8 months that lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate. So this has to be taken into consideration when thinking about meeting requirements for a PGWP.
- So, if you’re an international student about to begin a 1-year degree (which usually lasts 8 months in Canada) then you need to think about how you can meet the minimum threshold for PGWP eligibility after you graduate.
- Hopefully, the IRCC and the institutions themselves will respond with some waivers and flexibility but you need to keep up to date on any developments in several areas:
- Travel bans being lifted
- IRCC eligibility requirements for PGWP being softened in response to the COVID-19 crisis
- Designated Learning Institutions (schools in Canada officially approved to give degrees, diplomas, or certificates) offering solutions for start dates and full-time requirements, or allowing leave from studies due to travel bans, for example.
Please check back here at Maxcan Visa to keep up with developments and ensure that your studies in Canada can proceed as smoothly as possible given the current situation.