All international students in Canada, who due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic remain in their home countries, will still have the chance to receive postgraduate work permits even if all their studies are completed remotely.
On Friday, Ottawa introduced its plans to extend and expand the interim measures in an effort to save the profitable international education sector in the country and preserve Canadian education even amidst the absence of in-person learning, Erudera College News reports.
In this regard, the Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino claimed that the new policy means that every student aiming to work in Canada after graduation will not face the lack of opportunities, and it also assured that the economy and society would continue to benefit from international students’ contributions.
“Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here,” he said.
In 2019, more than 572,000 international students contributed $21 billion to the Canadian economy and backed a total of 170,000 jobs through tuitions and spending. Normally, the latter pay three to four times more in tuition fees than local students.
Data by Statistics Canada have shown that a quarter of new international students were enrolled at Canadian universities in the same year, whereas more than 16 per cent of students were enrolled in colleges. Yet, due to pandemic developments and moving to online learning, international enrollment has significantly plummeted.
In other circumstances, international students pursuing studies in a government-designated school would have received postgraduate work permits for one to three years, depending on the student’s field of study. But remote learning and studying outside Canada did not count towards the length of a post-graduation work permit.
Nevertheless, last year, Ottawa decided that students who complete as much as half of their program learning remotely due to COVID-19, are still eligible for work permit. However, only those in virtual programs last spring were allowed for this.
According to Mendicino, the new measure will also count the completion of studies from abroad, up to December 31 toward the opportunity and length of a postgraduate permit.
“Whether as health care workers on the pandemic’s front lines or as founders of some of the most promising startups, international students are giving back to communities across Canada as we continue the fight against the pandemic,” Mendicino said.
More than 58,000 graduates have managed to apply successfully for permanent immigration during 2019.