International students now eligible for PGWP with online courses

Kareem El-Assal, Shelby Thevenot
Published: April 8, 2020

International students starting their Canadian study program in the coming weeks will not be penalized for online coursework if they eventually apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

The PGWP allows international students to work in Canada for up to three years. It is a way to get Canadian work experience, which is highly valued in economic class immigration programs that lead to permanent residence.

Canadian government research shows that those with Canadian experience prior to becoming permanent residents tend to integrate quickly into the labour market. As such, many of Canada’s more than 80 economic class immigration programs reward candidates who have Canadian experience with extra points, or are geared specifically for international students.

Under normal circumstances, international students must have continuously studied full time in Canada in a program that is at least eight months long in order to be eligible for this work permit. Studying online could render an applicant ineligible for a PGWP.

Find out how to stay in Canada

This temporary reform is yet another step taken by Canada to make its immigration policies more flexible and avoid disrupting the plans of immigration clients during a period in which it is seeking to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Given that many courses were forced to move online in accordance with coronavirus prevention measures, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is allowing international students enrolled in these courses to be eligible for a PGWP.

This also includes students who have a study permit, or who were approved for a program starting in May or June, but who are unable to travel to Canada amid travel restrictions.

International students in this predicament can begin their classes while outside Canada and may complete up to half of their program while abroad if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

International students who were approved for a study permit after March 18 are currently not exempt from Canada’s travel ban, which is set to be in place until June 30.

IRCC’s temporary reform will be welcomed by the many international students who wish to eventually transition to permanent residence.

According to a survey by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 60 per cent of Canada’s international students indicate this desire. Obtaining a PGWP is an important stepping stone for such students as it enables them to gain the Canadian experience they often need to become eligible for an economic class immigration program.

In 2018, one-quarter of the nearly 90,000 people who received an invitation to apply under Express Entry were former international students.

Find out how to stay in Canada

If you need assistance with the Post-Graduation Work Permit application process contact

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Study Abroad in Canada: A Useful Checklist for International Students
Study Abroad in Canada: A Useful Checklist for International Students
Studying in Canada: An updated guide to applying for Canada’s Student Direct Stream in 2024
The process of applying for a Canadian study permit has undergone changes recently, affecting many candidates that will apply for expedited processing through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) in 2024.
IRCC releases allocation of study permits for all provinces
IRCC has released a statement explaining how it has arrived at the final allocation of study permits each Canadian province has received for 2024.
Canada increases duration of interim work authorization letters for international graduates
A woman sits at her desk in an office building.
Top Stories
IRCC issues 2,095 ITAs in latest Express Entry draw
What if I am not invited to apply in an Express Entry draw?
Study: Immigrants admitted to Canada as children have better education and work outcomes
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Canada
Study: Immigrants admitted to Canada as children have better education and work outcomes
A group of people raising their hands in triumph in an office building.
Budget 2024: How Canada is continuing its commitment to safe and inclusive communities
A Family out boating together having fun on vacation
Budget 2024: How will it impact Canadian immigration?
Canada has released Budget 2024.
Comparing rental costs across Canada
A for rent sign infront of a small house
Link copied to clipboard