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COVID19 will not impact your post-study work opportunities in Canada

Canada has a reputation for welcoming its international students. In the current crisis, they’ve taken measures to more than justify it.
BY Skendha Singh |   20-05-2020

The iconic Toronto skyline
The iconic Toronto skyline

In 2019, Canada ranked third globally for international students with over 404000 students receiving study permits. Consequently, the student population grew by 13% over 2018 according to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data.

There are a number of reasons why Canada is attractive to this particular cohort: the universities are highly ranked internationally with 17 in the top 500 of QS World University Rankings 2020; the country is stable and growing economically; Canada is seen as a safe and welcoming study destination (Canadian Bureau for International Education).

The last reason in particular has allowed Canada to benefit from the regressive stances taken by governments in the US and the UK which impacted their international student inflows. Now, with President Trump gunning for the Optional Practical Training program that allows international students to stay on after their degree for a further 12 to 36 months, the US is likely to witness a sharper decline in numbers thereby potentially boosting Canada’s share.

Canada’s policies articulate its understanding that with a growth in international student numbers comes a growth in benefits. According to Immigration Canada, international students contributed 21.6 billion CAD to the economy and supported nearly 170,000 jobs in 2018.

Now Canada’s latest progressive measures, announced in the light of COVID19, further cement its position as a welcoming country with real opportunities for international students.

Vancouver Film School
Vancouver Film School, used under CC by 2.0

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the IRCC has announced that students who were about to begin their studies in May or June in Canada will be able to do so online. This will not impact their eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit as and when they choose to apply for it. The students currently taking classes online due to the pandemic will also remain eligible as before. 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.

Secondly, current students and graduates with a Post-Graduation Work Permit will be classified as holding Implied Status. These students can continue to study and work as per the original conditions of their permit when their visa is under review.

Thirdly, while Canada restricts working hours for international students to 20 (as do most international countries), it has eased those restrictions for students working in 10 essential sectors by allowing them to work full time until 31 August 2020. These 10 sectors include:

  • Energy and utilities
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Food
  • Water
  • Transportation
  • Safety
  • Government
  • Manufacturing

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marco Mendicino said, “Immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students are making important contributions as frontline workers in health care and other essential service sectors. We know and value their efforts and sacrifices to keep Canadians healthy and ensure the delivery of critical goods and services.”

These new measures are a great addition to the country's already impressive immigration record. And they will likely go a long way in reassuring international students who might currently be at a loss when it comes to figuring out further studies.



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