Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit and COVID-19 information
International students who are either already eligible programs or will begin a program in the Fall may benefit from Canada’s temporary changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program.
The changes in place are to help make things easier during the pandemic.
Usually, the time students spend distance learning courses is not included in the consideration for the length of their PGWP and at least half a student’s courses must be completed in person.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is recognizing border closures imposed by governments throughout the world to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This is making it hard for international students to meet those requirements.
Ottawa has decided to temporarily relax those rules.
The new policy changes state that international students who were enrolled in – or started, will start a PGWP program – anytime from March 2020 up to this Fall semester can complete up to their full school program online or from outside of Canada.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) states that the time spent studying outside of Canada can be counted towards the overall length of PGWP until December 31, 2021. Any time spent studying outside of Canada after December 31, 2021 will be deducted from the length of the PGWP.
Another rule that Ottawa is introducing is that international students who want to apply for the PGWP, there will be some relaxed requirements for full-time studies.
Ottawa has further decided to waive the requirement that international students must provide a letter of completion or final transcript from their school with their initial application.
With this new policy, when IRCC is processing applications, the documents will now be requested by the processing officer as per the procedures for requests for additional documents on open applications.
Applicants who need to restore their status will also be eligible to apply without the letter of completion or final transcript. As well, foreign nationals who studied in Quebec will be able to apply for the PGWP even if they do not have a valid Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ).
Until the PGWP is issued, any graduate who still holds a valid study permit can work full-time without the work permit as they wait for a decision on their PGWP application if the applicant:
- hold a valid study permit at the time of the PGWP application;
- has completed an eligible program of study;
- meets the requirements for working off-campus without a work permit; and
- did not exceed the allowable hours of work.
During the period of January 27 to July 27, 2021, the IRCC is accepting applications for open work permits to current PGWP holders with soon-to-expire permits and former PGWP holders. Those open work permits will be issued for a maximum duration of eighteen (18) months.