Federal government eases rules for international students studying online


On July 14, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced additional measures, including faster and easier study permit processing, to make it easier for international students to study online with a Canadian postsecondary institution this fall from abroad.

The new measures include:

  • providing priority study-permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online, to ensure that permits are processed as quickly as possible;
  • allowing students to count the time spent pursuing their studies online abroad toward their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit, if they have submitted a study permit application and if at least half of their program is completed in Canada;
  • providing reassurances to international students who cannot submit all of the documentation needed to complete processing of their applications, and who choose to pursue programs through distance learning, by implementing a temporary two-stage approval process.

The minister for IRCC, Marco Mendicino, said the changes will give students more certainty about their ability to enter Canada once travel and health restrictions are eased within Canada and their own home countries. “They mean that students will be eligible to work in Canada after graduation, even if they need to begin their studies online from overseas this fall,” he said.

These measures are in addition to changes made by IRCC in mid-May easing rules for international study permits.

According to the Reuters, Canada issued 30,785 study permits in May to new foreign students, up 11 percent from 27,810 permits in May 2019. IRCC estimates that international students contributed $21.6 billion to Canada’s GDP and supported nearly 170,000 jobs in 2018. Nearly 54,000 people who studied at Canadian institutions as international students became permanent residents in 2018.


Learn more: Read the full release.


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