International students who are forced to enrol in online courses this fall due to COVID-will still be eligible for postgraduate work permits, the federal government has announced.


International education is a significant source of revenues for Canada, with international students contributing $21.6 billion in tuition and spending to the country’s GDP and supporting nearly 170,000 jobs in 2018.


As of Dec. 31, 2019, there were 498,735 post-secondary international students in Canada, which is a popular destination because it allows international students to work part-time during the school year and grants them work permits when they graduate as a pathway for permanent residence.


Under normal circumstances, international students from government-designated schools are issued

postgraduate work permits that are good for one to three years, depending on the length of their studies.

However, distance learning and time spent studying outside Canada don’t count.


PGWPP eligibility will not be affected for international students whose fall 2020 courses will be online due to COVID-19.

This is in line with guidance provided to students already studying in Canada or whose program had a spring or summer start date.

Students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and complete up to 50% of their program

via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner. 


In addition, they will not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies

completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020