Canada has gained and continues to gain a name for itself in being an international student-friendly country. The Canadian government has released many policies that promote and simplify processes for international students to study remotely and then work in the country.
Recently, the Canadian government has announced that International students who have completed a Canadian higher education degree entirely remotely or online will still be eligible to apply for the Post-Graduate Work Permits.
The move comes after concerns regarding the fear of international students enrolled in Canadian HEIs missing out on job opportunities due to the “myriad challenges” that propped up due to the pandemic. This step is expected to garner positive responses amongst international students, state sources.
The policy will be applicable to international students who are enrolled in a programme that qualifies them for a PGWP, while also meeting the necessary PGWP eligibility criteria. For students who completed their studies online and wish to qualify for the PGWP, the criteria are as follows:
The programme a student is enrolled in must be in-line with the PGWP parameters.
Students must have begun their course in Spring 2020 or must start their course in Fall 2021. Students enrolled in programmes that were already in progress by March 2020, are also eligible.
Students must have a study permit or are awaiting approval for a study permit or have applied for a study permit before starting their programme and are approved eventually are also eligible.
Candidates should adhere to all the other PGWP eligibility requirements as well.
Marco E L Mendicino, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, stated that the latest policy will allow students aspiring to work in Canada after studying remotely to be able to gain some ROI, while also focusing on the needs of Canada’s economy. He states that Canada aims to not only help students study in Canada but also stay. The announcement comes as an extension of a previous policy update which allowed students to count the time spent studying remotely, outside of Canada, as part of the PGWP visa requirements.
Earlier this year, the government had also announced that former international students that either hold or held a PGWP would now be able to reapply for open work permits. These steps, Mendicino states, reimagines “the way we do immigration” during a pandemic.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) promoted its aim in charting a course of recovery for Canada. Among the steps, attracting and recruiting skilled immigrants become crucial to the country’s plan of recovery. The new policy is aimed at focusing on helping international students to build their career in Canada and focus on meeting the needs in sectors such as Healthcare and Technology.
The move is also expected to reduce the struggle of visa delay faced by students, thus leading to unnecessary frustrations and worry, degrading the mental health of prospective students.
IRCC states that international students have been able to contribute over $21 billion per year to the economy of Canada. With students joining the frontlines such as in the fields of Healthcare or becoming founders of promising start-ups, international students have been able to contribute to the economy even during the pandemic.
In a statement released by the government, allowing 58,000 graduates to apply successfully to permanently immigrate in FY2019, will be beneficial in answering the demographic challenges of Canada.
One of the biggest challenges faced by Canada is the ageing population, which can be addressed by attracting more immigrants. Sources state that currently for every retiree, there are three Canadian workers, but by 2035, the number is expected to drop to two Canadian workers per retiree. This will force younger Canadian’s to “pay more per person to offer the same benefits”.