Canada Offers New Possibilities to Foreign Students Seeking Permanent Residence

Great Canadian immigration news for international students in the Great White North: Not only can Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) holders re-apply for their work visa but long-distance learning students will be eligible for permanent residency through the Express Entry system!

For those starting their Study to PR Canada, there are more routes you can now take.

Normally, online learning students that study in Canada or at a Canadian university are ineligible to apply for permanent residency. However, with the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering in schools, workplaces and institutions all across Canada, has now changed.

For Express Entry applicants who took classes online during the pandemic, Canada is easing regulations. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be accepting applications for Canadian permanent residency through the Express Entry system from candidates that completed their degrees at a Canadian institution through long-distance learning.

Before, if you wanted to study in Canada and get the benefits of applying for permanent residency or PGWP, after the completion of your studies, you had to complete either all, or some of your studies in-person contact.

The COVID-19 pandemic made this impossible for many students, both national and international. In-person classes were cancelled, and international students were not able to arrive in Canada due to travel restrictions. There is now some relief.

When 50% of a program is completed online, distance learning typically does not count toward the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points required for Canada Express Entry.

According to a recent change from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), candidates who finished their education through remote learning between March 2020 and August 2022, will now be eligible for Canadian educational credential points. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is only a one-time offer.

The IRCC stated, “The new measure applies to those who earned a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate online during the eligibility period." We can expect many international students to use this change in the requirements to apply for permanent residency.

In order to meet the new requirements, you must have:

  • Finished a course online; or
  • Graduated from your program outside of Canada; or
  • Finished your program on a part-time schedule.

Additionally, the IRCC advised candidates who had already claimed their education credentials, to update their profiles by responding to three questions in the area on their schooling background.

Your CRS scores may decline if certain fields are left blank, and you risk losing the chance to be invited to apply for permanent residence. We have included these fields below.

  1. How much in-person study did the candidate complete in order to get the credential?
  2. How much in-person study did the candidate complete in Canada?
  3. How much full-time studying did the candidate complete?

In other Canadian Immigration News, holders of PGWP, on their study to PR Canada route can now re-apply for a work permit.

Canada has introduced new measures for foreign nationals whose post-graduation employment permits have expired, or are about to expire - this includes applicants for the paths from temporary residence to permanent residency.

While the PGWP is not a PR route, it allows international students to apply for a temporary work permit after graduating, giving them enough time to gain valuable work experience in Canada and eventually apply for Canadian permanent residency.

The enormous social, cultural, and economic contributions that international students make to Canada are acknowledged by the Canadian government. Canada is a popular choice for international students because of its inclusive and diverse society, world-class educational institutions, and chances for employment or immigration following graduation.

The IRCC is taking action for candidates going from the temporary resident to permanent residency pathway - as well as former international students whose post-graduation work permits have expired or are about to expire.

If your PGWP expired between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022, the new requirements apply to you. The PGWPs typically have a one-time use. Graduates of full-time programs offered to international students who qualify can obtain an open work permit valid for a maximum of three years.

However, the new rule will let PGWP holders who qualify, renew it or apply for a brand-new open work permit that will last for an extra 18 months.

There are certain scenarios published by the IRCC that are dependent on several factors such as your permit’s expiry date, your passport validity, and your contact with the IRCC. It is vital that you find the most appropriate scenario for your situation and follow the measures granted by the government.

Additionally, you may be able to work in the interim while you wait. According to the IRCC, from August 8, 2022,

“Individuals with post-graduation work permits that have expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will receive an email indicating that they are allowed to work in the interim.”
The IRCC went on to say: “This one-time measure is intended to ensure that those eligible for the additional 18-month work period, can remain working or return to the workforce while they apply for a new work permit. This interim work period will be in effect until May 31, 2023.”

For those that currently study online in Canada or through a Canadian university elsewhere, there are study to PR Canada routes you can take through Express Entry. As for holders of PGWP, re-applying will enable many to continue working in Canada and get valuable work experience. These positive new measures are all in hopes of encouraging skilled and educated foreigners to remain in Canada and contribute to the country’s great economy.

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