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Canada moves to protect its international students unlike the US

Posted on July 14, 2020
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Canada Study Visa

While the US government under Trump recently made a decision to cancel the visas of foreign students who are taking online classes for the fall semester, Canada on the other hand has made decisions favorable to international students ever since the Coronavirus pandemic broke out.

Exemption from travel restrictions

Canada exempted students from the travel restrictions it imposed in March this year on the outbreak of the pandemic.

International students whose study permits were issued on or before March 18, 2020 when the travel restrictions were introduced have been exempted. These students were able to travel to Canada provided they follow mandatory quarantine of 14 days on arrival in the country.

Changes to PGWP rule

Canada has made significant changes to the requirement for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for foreign students who will attend online classes this fall.

The PGWP helps international students gain work experience in Canada after completing their study course at a specified learning institution. The PGWP is valid for 3 years, depending on the length of the study program.

Online classes are normally not eligible for a PGWP application but due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has agreed to encourage international students to study online in their country and still be able to apply for a work permit after graduation.

Under this new regulation, students will be able to start their online programs at Canadian universities in the autumn of this year and complete up to 50% of their program overseas, and then receive their PGWP for work in Canada after completing their studies. The IRCC has agreed not to deduct the duration of the PGWP for the period students spend on the course from outside the country.

Under the new rules, an international student can begin his course in the fall and still be eligible for a PGWP of three-year duration provided he comes to Canada by December 2020 and completes a certification program at Designated Learning Institute (DLI) of at least two years in duration.

Students in essential services

International students involved in essential services such as healthcare, food supply, or critical infrastructure are exempted from the 20 work hours limit which international students have to adhere to while studying in Canada. This exemption is valid till August 31 of this year.

 Quebec extends stay of international students

The immigration authorities in the province of Quebec have decided to give a stay extension to international students whose Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) has expired on  April 30. They can now apply to stay till the end of 2020.

This move will help students whose courses were interrupted due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Under this rule, international students can continue as temporary residents by extending their study permits and complete their programs once they resume.

In sharp contrast to the US, Canada is trying its best to protect the interests of international students. The country recognizes the contribution of students to the economy.

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