Canadian international students can now complete their entire programs online from their home countries. They can also qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced this new step on February 12, 2021. This is the latest measure designed to address the impact of Coronavirus restrictions on international students.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said, “”This new policy means that students hoping to work in Canada after graduation won’t miss out on opportunities, while ensuring that our economy and society continue to benefit from all that international students bring.”
“”Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here,” he continues.
One of the biggest export sectors in Canada is international education. According to IRCC, more than 572,000 foreign students came to Canada in 2019. They contributed $21 billion to the economy of Canada and also supported 170,000 jobs through spending and tuition.
Experts expected that this move would give a significant power boost to the post-COVID-19 Canadian economy as the international students usually pay three or four times more than the local students.
This way, Canada doesn’t have to wait for the complete withdrawal of border restrictions. Canadian economy will be benefited, and international students can feel secure as they will restart their studies.
According to Statistics Canada, one-fourth of total new enrollments in University were international students. In college, 16 percent of the new students are international students.
But, the pandemic has affected the new surge of international students significantly, and a new policy was very much needed to deal with the COVID-19 situation.
Under typical situations, international students from government-designated schools are issued postgraduate work permits. Depending on the length of the students’ study period, these work permits’ validity would last one to three years.
But, remote learning doesn’t count. The reason is that in order to prepare for the Canadian labour market, they need to acclimatize in Canada.
The top priority is now to maintain foreign student enrolment.
Ottawa decided to allow international students to complete as much as half of their course via online learning, and it will still be counted toward their work permit.
Last year, in response to the first wave of COVID-19, Ottawa decided to allow international students to complete as much as half of their program via distance learning while still counting it toward their work permit.
Initially, this was only applied to those online programs that were just started recently.
But Mendicino said the new step would include counting up to Dec 31.
International students have been becoming a primary economic source for Canada over the last decades. Like many sectors, it has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic heavily. Hopefully, this new announcement will recover some of the damage, and international students will get the much needed relief.