Canada recently announced a significant reform to provide more PGWP flexibility for international students by allowing them to study online while overseas and still be eligible to apply for the work permit after graduation.

Now, with many application centres closed due to the pandemic, prospective international students have been encouraged to continue working on their study permit and PGWP applications despite limitations around obtaining biometrics, medical examinations and travel documents.

In the past, incomplete applications would have been refused by the Canadian government, but under the latest update, the government will place the file on hold while waiting for the supporting documents, according to the Canada Immigration newsletter.

Under normal circumstances, graduates from a designated learning institution in Canada would be required to provide a final transcript from their school in order to apply for a PGWP.

However, IRCC is allowing international students who have applied for a PGWP before their study permit expires to begin working full-time while their application remains under consideration.

Graduates are expected to submit a letter explaining their inability to supply the necessary documents due to the closure of their school, and once their documents are available, they can submit them using the IRCC web form.

Students who have applied to renew their status but are missing documents will be allowed to maintain their status until a final decision is made, but they will not be allowed to work during this time.

Under normal circumstances, international students need to be studying full-time to apply for a PGWP. The government is currently making exceptions in this area as well, noted Canadian immigration law firm, Canadim.

If a student’s course load is reduced to part-time status due to school closures or cancellations of classes, this will not affect their eligibility for a Canadian post-graduate work permit.

Prior to the start of the pandemic, the over 640,000 international students in Canada were contributing CAD$22 billion annually to the economy.

To help students unable to qualify for government financial aid, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, individual institutions have introduced millions of dollars in support funds to help students struggling financially as a response to Covid-19.

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