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IRCC extends the transition time for distance learning measures until December 2023

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has said that they will continue to use measures for online learning that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students who did less than 50% of their PGWP-eligible studies outside of Canada can get a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) until December 31, 2023.

Before the pandemic, all international students had to do no more than 50% of their studies online, and time spent learning online outside of Canada did not count toward PGWP eligibility.

Due to the pandemic, people were unable to travel, so IRCC took away the ban on online study for students who

  • Were signed up for PGWP-eligible events that were still going on in March 2020
  • Started classes that qualify for the PGWP between March 2020 and August 31, 2022

This means that anyone who started studying abroad before August 31, 2022, can count all of that time toward getting the PGWP. Only 50% of the time can be counted for a kid who started school between September 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023.

Students who started studying abroad before September 1, 2023, will not be affected by the measure or the present extension. Also, it doesn't apply to students who started classes after August 31, 2022.

What is PGWP?

A PGWP is an open work permit for foreign students who want to stay in Canada after they finish their program of study and live and work there.

PGWP holders can work for almost any company in Canada because it is an open work permit. The PGWP can last as long as three years, depending on how long the program of study is.

In its update, IRCC says that if a student studied at a designated learning institution (DLI) outside of Canada, that time doesn't count toward the length of the PGWP until the department gets the study permit application.

Students must have the following:

  • Studied at a DLI for at least eight months in an academic, trade, or professional training program.
  • Received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI saying that the applicant has met the standards to finish their program of study. This will be included in the PGWP application.

People who stay in Canada on a PGWP after their studies can use any work experience they get toward becoming permanent residents. This is because many federal and provincial immigration programs value Canadian Work experience and education.