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IRCC Announces Additional Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility Updates

On August 26, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada announced three additional updates to post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility for international students starting a program online.

According to the announcement, “These changes are being implemented to provide more flexibility on eligibility rules for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for students who need or want to start their Canadian study program online from abroad.” 

To be eligible, students must submit a study permit application before starting a program in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2020, or Winter 2021.

These additional measures demonstrate Canada’s ongoing commitment to the safety and support of international students studying abroad in Canada.


Meti Basiri, ApplyBoard Co-Founder and CMO, reviews the additional PGWPP measures

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility

The additional measures to post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility include:

  • Students can study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future PGWP as long as provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students enrolled in a program that is between 8 – 12 months long, with a start date from May to September 2020, can complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a PGWP.
  • Students enrolled in a program with a start date from May–September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a PGWP in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.

International Students Already in Canada

The Government of Canada also announced measures for international students already in Canada:

  • Students already studying in Canada during the Winter, Spring, and Summer semesters can continue to work on- or off-campus under the terms of their study permit if they:
    • Were forced to study online
    • Drop down to part-time studies or take a break due to restrictions on classroom learning
  • International students already studying in Canada during the Winter, Spring, and Summer semesters will remain eligible for a PGWP if they:
    • Complete more than 50% of their program online
    • Drop down to part-time studies or take a break from their studies due to restrictions on classroom learning
  • International students can work more than 20 hours per week off-campus until August 31, 2020, if they are employed in an essential service or function. For a complete list of essential services and functions, please click here.

Applying for a Study Permit

Illustration of person completing documentComplete Applications

Complete applications will receive priority processing. These students can travel to Canada once travel restrictions are lifted.

Incomplete Applications

Students applying for a study permit from outside Canada should:

  • Include as many required documents as possible
  • Submit a letter of explanation for why the other documents were not included

Incomplete applications are processed in two stages. This two-stage process only applies to study permit applications:

  • Submitted by September 15, 2020
  • For programs starting in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2020, or Winter 2021

Stage 1: Eligibility
An officer will review an application for:

  • A letter of acceptance (LOA) from a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • A Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (for students studying in Quebec)
  • Proof that the applicant has sufficient money to pay for:
    • Tuition fees
    • Living expenses for themselves and any family members who travel with them Canada
    • Return transportation for themselves and any family members who travel with them to Canada
  • Any family ties the student has in Canada
  • Evidence the student won’t overstay their visa when it expires

The student will receive a notification in their online account if they pass the first stage. Please note, this doesn’t ensure that an application will be approved and that a study permit will be issued.

The Government of Canada intends to pass most applications through stage one prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester.

Stage 2: Admissibility and Changes to Eligibility
An officer will review an application for:

  • A medical exam (if necessary)
  • Police certificates (if necessary)
  • Biometrics
  • Any information that changed after the application was reviewed for eligibility