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News release by the Ministry of Immigration


July 14, 2020—Ottawa

As the fall season is fast approaching, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship, has announced additional special measures to support international students beginning a new program online this fall with a Canadian learning institution.

If the school, college or university is offering the program online, the international students may begin their studies online from overseas this fall, if they are unable to enter Canada due to travel restrictions. They will not lose their right for a work permit after graduation.

According to the policy changes, in order to support and reassure international students, the new measures include:

  • providing priority in 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

The 2-stage approval process will work as follows:

Step 1 – Once the international students receive an approval in principle on their submitted application, they will be allowed to begin their studies remotely through online education platforms offered by the schools. The time spent studying online abroad will count towards their post-graduation work permit.

Step 2 – As services begin to reopen, applicants will be required to submit remaining documents, undergo medical examination, give biometric data etc., and as long as they are able to satisfy all requirements and receive the full approval of their study permit application they will receive a study permit and will be allowed to travel to Canada.

This process is available to students starting a program in the fall semester who submit a study permit application before September 15, 2020. This measure will reassure students that they can enroll and begin their studies this fall online, even when they are not able to submit all required documentation due to pandemic-related closures.

It is important for prospective students to note that commencing their studies online from abroad following approval-in-principle of a study permit application is not a guarantee that they will receive a full approval of their study permit application, or be authorized to pursue their studies in Canada. It is still possible that an applicant could receive a negative final decision on their study permit based on factors such as inadmissibility for criminality or security reasons, and the inability to predict how the COVID-19 situation and any associated travel restrictions will evolve.


Photo: Cole Burston/ Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

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