International Students

Recognizing that many students choose to complete their post-secondary programs in Canada, the federal government has arranged for special considerations for international students, such as:

  • Expanding Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) eligibility to include online courses
  • Allowing international students to work more than 20 hours per week if they provide an essential service, have a study permit, and are eligible to work off-campus
  • Extending international students’ stays in Canada, as long as they have an unexpired study or work permit

Post-Graduation Work Permit Eligibility

Three new changes have been introduced to provide support for international students beginning their programs online:

  1. As long as 50% of your project is completed in Canada, there won’t be any time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for students studying online from abroad.
  2. If the program you’ve enrolled in is 8-12 months long, you may be able to complete the entire program online abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  3. If you graduate from more than one eligible program of study, you may be able to combine the length of your programs for a post-graduation work permit, providing that 50% of your total studies are completed in Canada

The full announcement can be found here, with more details about your eligibility requirements.

Additional Measures to Support International Students

In addition to the temporary measures that have been part of previous announcements, the Canadian government has recently shared that they are offering additional supports for students taking online programs in Canada for the fall intake, allowing students to continue studying in Canada while ensuring everyone stays safe in their learning environments.

The new measures include:

  • Providing priority study-permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online to ensure that permits are processed as quickly as possible.
  • Allowing students to count the time spent pursuing their studies online abroad toward their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit, if they have submitted a study permit application and if at least 50% of their program is completed in Canada.
  • Providing reassurances to international students who cannot submit all of the documentation needed to complete processing of their applications, and who choose to pursue programs through distance learning, by implementing a temporary 2-stage approval process.

To be eligible for the additional supports, your study permit application for the fall semester must be submitted before September 15, 2020.

Travel Restrictions Involving International Students

To support greater family reunification, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced new information regarding travel restrictions into Canada. In addition to more information about entering the country, the media release shares that post-secondary institutions in Canada with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan will be able to welcome international students to their classrooms as early as October 20, 2020.

Here’s more information about COVID-19 and international students, including a list of designated learning institutions with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan.

Colleges & Institutes Canada (CICAN) has compiled a great response to help international students prepare and plan to begin or continue learning in Canada.


Stay safe, observe the best practices, and help Canada overcome this pandemic.