International students should refrain from making travel plans to Canada, at least until Ottawa’s border restrictions are removed. According to the latest announcement in the programme guidelines, the Federal Immigration Department claimed that international students will not be allowed to enter Canada if they have received their student visa after the border lockdown of the country on March 18.
According to the latest update, even students who already received a study permit earlier than March 18, will not be allowed to enter the country unless they have proof that their travel is “non-discretionary” or non-optional. The announcement specifies that since classes are generally continuing on an online basis, “travel will be deemed discretionary or non-discretionary depending on individual circumstances.”
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers will assess the circumstances regarding the students’ travel. Essentially, they will see whether any of the following conditions apply:
- The student is established, residing, and studying in Canada. The return is non-optional if the student is established in Canada.
- The student is expected to begin study upon arrival after completing their quarantine period.
- The student’s presence is mandatory in the programme (laboratories or workshops).
- The student cannot complete online study (when it is not an option for their programme or they have challenges facilitating online study from their home country).
- The semester has been cancelled and the student will begin study later in the year.
International students whose study permit application has been approved on or before March 18, 2020, have been notified about the public health measures upon entering Canada, as well as the mandatory 14-quarantine that expects them upon arrival. However, their reason to enter Canada should still be deemed as “non-discretionary” to be approved for entrance, a final decision of which will be made by a border services officer at the port of entry.
Canada is a highly regarded study destination for international students of higher education, a sector which contributes over $20 billion to the country’s economy. International student tuition fees are significantly higher than those of domestic students in Canada, which makes international students an important asset to the well-being of the economy. International student hubs worldwide, including Canada, are trying to keep their countries competitive to foreign students.
The Federal Government, however, wants to ensure that international students still consider Canada as a study destination. As a result, the Govt is allowing students to count their online classes from abroad, due to the pandemic, towards the post-graduation work permit requirements. If these students have completed at least half of their study programme in Canada (before the re-opening of borders), and have submitted a study permit application, they will be eligible for the work permit.