International students can now use online study taken until August 31, 2022 toward their PGWP eligibility.
Online study is not normally eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), but that has changed since the pandemic.
International students can now do 100% of their studies online from outside Canada, and still get a PGWP once the program is complete. Canada has extended the period that international students can study online until August 31, 2022, up from December 31, 2021. The measure was originally implemented in 2020, as part of a coronavirus-related measure to allow international students affected by the pandemic to still be eligible for the PGWP.
The Canadian government website says the rule applies even if you are completing two study programs, as long as the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and summer 2022.
Study programs must be with an eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and meet other PGWP requirements. The shortest length a program may be is eight months. The time spent studying outside Canada after August 31, 2022, and any time spent studying before you applied for a study permit does not count toward the length of a PGWP.
The length of your study period is important both for the PGWP eligibility, and also in determining how long your PGWP will be valid for. If your study program was more than eight months but less than two years, the PGWP’s validity matches the length of the study program. If it was more than two years, the PGWP may be up to three years in duration.
PGWP opens pathways to Canadian immigration
Having Canadian work and study experience can go a long way toward an immigration application. A Statistics Canada report says six in 10 international students (first-time study permit holders) who worked during or after their studies became permanent residents.
Certain economic-class immigration pathways like Express Entry, Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) all highly value Canadian work experience. Some programs even require it.
The Canadian Experience Class, for example, is an Express Entry-managed program that requires one year of Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation. The PEQ, is a popular pathway for French-speaking international student graduates in Quebec. Also, the PNP opens immigration pathways for people who are not eligible for Express Entry.
The PGWP is an open work permit, meaning you can use it to work for any employer, in any occupation in Canada. It is a one-time deal, and it cannot be renewed or extended.
However, if you do get it, you have the opportunity to work anywhere in Canada. Studies suggest that having both Canadian work and study experience can boost immigrants’ earning potential. For these reasons, the PGWP is a highly sought-after work permit, as it opens the doors to opportunities in Canada.