On September 1, 2023 Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced an updated extension to its temporary public policy, enabling distance learning to be eligible for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
This update is designed to accommodate the challenges faced by international students during the pandemic. Let’s dive into the details:
Extension of PGWP Distance Learning Eligibility:
Until December 31, 2023, students who have completed less than 50% of their PGWP-eligible studies outside of Canada will remain eligible for a PGWP. This is great news for those who had to adapt to online learning due to COVID-19.
Pandemic Era Flexibility:
During the pandemic, IRCC removed the restrictions on online study for students who:
- Were enrolled in PGWP-eligible programs in progress in March 2020.
- Started PGWP-eligible programs between March 2020 and August 31, 2022.
- Students who began their studies abroad prior to August 31, 2022, can consider all that time for Post Graduation Work Permit eligibility.
- Students who started between September 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023, can count fifty percent of their study time.
End Date for the Extension
The extension for distance learning eligibility will cease to apply after September 1, 2023. Students who commenced their studies after August 31, 2022, won’t be eligible for this extension.
Until December 31, 2023, students graduating from two eligible study programs (in progress in March 2020 or started between March 2020 and August 31, 2022) can combine their program durations when applying for a Post Graduation Work Permit.
- If both programs were already in progress in March 2020 or started between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, they must complete 100% of both programs outside of Canada.
- Additionally, they can combine the durations of their programs of study when applying for a Post Graduation Work Permit in the future.
- According to the current PGWP guidelines, each program must have a minimum duration of 8 months and must be concluded within 2 years at an eligible designated learning institution (DLI).
- If students started their second program on or after September 1, 2022, they must complete at least 50% of their second program in Canada.
Please note that even if their first program was active in March 2020 or started between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, they will not be eligible for the facilitation measure mentioned above.
Working Full-Time Work While Awaiting PGWP Decision:
International students can work full-time without a work permit while awaiting a decision on their PGWP application if they meet these conditions:
- Valid study permit at the time of applying for PGWP.
- Completion of a PGWP-eligible study program.
- Comply with off-campus employment regulations on the study permit.
- Stay within the maximum hours allowed by the study permit.
Duration of Post-Graduation Work Permit
The PGWP duration depends on the length of your study program:
- Up to 9 months if your program was over 8 months but less than 2 years.
- Up to 3 years if your program was 2 years or longer.
If you complete two study programs, you might be eligible for a work permit equal to the length of each program.
One PGWP per Lifetime
Remember, you can apply for a PGWP only once in your lifetime. Multiple Post Graduation Work Permits are not permitted.
What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit?
The Post-Graduation Work Permit is a permit issued by the Government of Canada that allows international students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada to work in the country after graduation.
This extension offers valuable flexibility for international students in Canada, allowing them to adapt to changing circumstances during the pandemic.