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NEW Temporary Updates to Canada International Student Requirements

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah

NEW Temporary Updates to Canada International Student Requirements

On July 28, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued NEW temporary updates to Canada international student requirements that impact international students who want attend school in Canada. Due to the COVID pandemic, in March Canada implemented restrictions on who can travel to Canada, and has extended travel restrictions to enter the country through at least August 31. IRCC has remained open and is processing immigration applications, including Study Permit and Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) applications for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021, but processing is taking much longer and there will continue to be delays in processing indefinitely.

Canadian Designated Learning Institutes (DLI) that host international students may be temporarily closed, offering online classes only, or offer a hybrid program of online and in-person classes. IRCC's new temporary international student application guidelines address DLI online programs.

Due to international travel restrictions, DLI program changes and the closure, limited operation of global Visa Application Centres and reduced IRCC operations, IRCC has issued new updated temporary Study Permit guidelines and policies:

Study Permits

IRCC will temporarily accept incomplete Study Permit applications.

  • There are no procedures for expedited processing of Study Permit applications.
  • International students who are Temporary Residents of Canada are temporarily exempted from biometrics requirements.
  • Study Permit applications will not be refused due to missing documentation or requirements such as biometrics or medical exams; IRCC will keep the application open until requirements are met.
  • International students who have a valid Study Permit are exempt from Canada's travel restrictions. The decision to allow entry into Canada will rest with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers.
  • International students who received a letter of introduction from IRCC dated on or before March 18, 2020, are exempt from Canada's travel restrictions. The decision to allow entry into Canada will rest with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers.
  • International students who travel to Canada are required to follow all health requirements including a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
  • IRCC has temporarily implemented a two-stage assessment process for Study Permit applications for eligible applicants submitted on or before September 15, 2020:
    • Stage 1: Applicants will receive a notification from IRCC once they have passed the preliminary eligibility assessment.
    • Stage 2: When IRCC services resume, biometrics and other application requirements must be completed. Passing Stage 1 does NOT guarantee an applicant will pass Stage 2 and receive approval for their Study Permit.
  • Before starting an online program from an approved DLI, prospective students must apply for a Study Permit and plan to complete their program in Canada when classes resume.

For a complete list of temporary Study Permit policies read IRCC guidelines.

Post-Graduate Work Permits

Pre-COVID, PGWP only recognized in-person classes.

  • PGWP applicants who apply for a post-graduation work permit can submit an application without a letter of completion or final transcript.
  • Students who have completed more than 50% of their program online due to COVID-19 will remain eligible for the post-graduation work permit program.
  • Online courses started before study permit approval count toward PGWP.
  • If a student’s status changes from full time to part-time due to COVID, eligibility for a post-graduation work permit will not be impacted.
  • Students can put their studies on hold or become part-time students due to COVID-related course cancelations.
  • PGWP students in some categories who had already completed course work in Canada may temporarily take online courses abroad without negatively impacting their PGWP IF
    • they have already submitted a Study Permit application
    • they later receive a Study Permit
    • they complete at minimum 50% of their program in Canada

For a complete list of temporary Post-Graduate Work Permit policies read IRCC guidelines.

On and Off-Campus Work Authorization

  • International students with on-campus work authorization can work remotely for their employer.
  • International students with off-campus work authorization are still subject to the authorized number of hours they would have been permitted to work as a full-time student.
  • International students who are deemed essential workers can work more than the authorized 20 hours per week until August 31, 2020.

For a complete list of temporary On and Off-Campus Work Authorization policies read IRCC guidelines.

Do You Want to Study In Canada?

Canada is an attractive destination for foreign students and has increased opportunities for international student enrollment in recent years. Canada's IRCC has made many changes in international student policies due to temporary COVID restrictions. Talking to an experienced immigration professional can help identify the best opportunities for you to study in Canada.

Book A Consultation

In order to study in Canada, international students usually require a study permit. This is a document available only after a college, university, or other accredited educational institution has accepted you. Study permits are only available for those accepted to schools designated to accept international students. Designated learning institutions appear on the official Designated Learning Institutions list, but only at the post-secondary level. Primary and secondary schools throughout the country are automatically deemed as designated institutions.

For more information on applying to study in Canada as an international student or to find out about working while you study or after you graduate contact Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (587) 324-2232 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.



Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

More About Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

I used Ackah Business Immigration Law to assist me during my application process for a work permit. Evelyn and her team provided great support whenever I needed it and made it possible for me to perform my one-year internship at McGill University. I had the feeling that they cared about by immigration to a high extent and without their help, I would not have been able to get my work permit.

– Steffan Noe Christiansen, MSc student in Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University

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