Foreign students who enrolled in online courses from their country this fall intake will be eligible for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after moving to Canada
For foreign students who choose to study in Canada beginning this fall, Canada is making a big adjustment to its Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) regulations.
The PGWP allows foreign students to obtain Canadian job experience at a specified Canadian learning institution (DLI) after completing their education programme.
To be eligible for the PGWP, foreign students must have completed a full-time program at least eight months in duration at a DLI. Their course of study should have led to a diploma, degree, or certificate. The duration of the PGWP depends on the length of the student's study program in Canada.
Students may start their program online and still qualify for 3-year PGWP after their arrival in Canada. Online courses usually do not count against the study criteria for an application for PGWP. However, despite travel interruptions associated with coronavirus around the world, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) now allows foreign students to study online while abroad and still be able to apply for a work permit after graduation. The reform was announced by the IRCC during the evening of 14 May 2020.
New international students will be able to start their programs online at a Canadian DLI in the fall of 2020 and complete up to 50% of the program abroad, and after completing their studies they will still be able to receive the PGWP to work in Canada.
IRCC also pointed out that, until December 31, 2020, foreign students’ will not have time deducted from the duration of their PGWP for the period they spent outside Canada. For example, a new foreign student would start their program this coming fall at a Canadian DLI online, and still be qualified for a PGWP for a period of three years as long as they arrived in Canada by the end of 2020 and completed a suitable educational program at a minimum length of two years.
Why this announcement is so important
The PGWP is particularly sought by foreign students in Canada, as it allows them to work in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education's annual survey of foreign students, this job experience gives them a big advantage when submitting their federal and/or provincial immigration application, which 60 per cent of international students expect to do. For example, former international students with work experience in Canada will be awarded additional points to their Comprehensive Ranking System score (CRS) for having studied and work experience in Canada.
A number of streams of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) also exist in addition to federal pathways to help former foreign students to apply for permanent residence.
This major announcement will allow more foreign students to pursue their Canadian studies this fall, rather than delay their post-secondary education. The explanation for this is that foreign students who ultimately wish to apply for Canadian citizenship may want to capitalize on the opportunity to complete a portion of their studies in their country of origin, while still being able to enjoy the same benefits if they had been expected to study physically in Canada.
Another big advantage for them is the cost of studying in Canada would decrease, as they do not have to pay extra living costs at the beginning of their Canadian studies.
The announcement would give a boost to Canada's economy and employment
Nonetheless, this policy reform should prove to be a boon for the Canadian economy, as the tuition paid by overseas students will help support jobs at universities and colleges across Canada. In turn, foreign students can boost economic development in a variety of ways once they arrive in Canada, through their spending, labour, and the taxes they pay as workers.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 640,000 foreign students in Canada contributed $22 billion annually to the economy and funded about 170,000 Canadian jobs.
In addition, many of these students will ultimately make the transition to permanent residence that will benefit Canada's economy in the long run because they will have the primary human capital characteristics that sustain Canada's immigrants' strong labour market outcomes. These characteristics are being young in age, fluency in English and/or French, and having Canadian education, job experience as well as social and professional connections.
IRCC applied this measure initially in early April to international students whose courses start in May and June. The announcement on May 14 is an extension to the students who continue their semester in September.