IRCC: Transition period for distance learning measures
August 25, 2022—Through the pandemic, measures have been in place to allow international students to pursue their studies online from abroad while remaining eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). As the new school year approaches, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is creating a transition period for these measures. Following consultations with provinces, territories and education stakeholders, distance learning measures have been extended to August 31, 2023. But they are being reduced in scope.
As we transition back to pre-pandemic requirements, we encourage international students to come back to Canada. A transition period is available for those who may need some time to do so.
International students studying online from abroad or who submit a study permit application no later than August 31, 2022, will continue to be able to complete up to 100% of their program online without affecting their PGWP eligibility. However, study time completed from abroad starting on September 1, 2023, will be deducted from the length of their post-graduation work permit, regardless of when a student began their studies.
The extension of temporary distance learning measures will affect those starting programs from September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023. Specifically, these measures will apply:
- No more than 50% of the credits earned can be completed outside Canada to remain eligible for a PGWP.
- Studies completed online from outside Canada starting on September 1, 2023, will be deducted from the length of a future PGWP.
With unprecedented interest in Canada from applicants all over the world, the department continues to set the bar higher for immigration processing. However, responding to humanitarian crises and updating aging technology to meet demands have led to processing delays and longer wait times. Our focus is on reducing existing backlogs, including for student permits. Nevertheless, despite prioritizing study permit applications for students looking to begin their studies in September, some international students may not have their application processed on time to begin their studies in person for the fall 2022 intake period.
At the height of the pandemic, measures were introduced to help mitigate the impact of travel and health restrictions on international students and Canada’s international education sector. These measures allowed international students to complete up to 100% of their program online from outside Canada without affecting their eligibility to a potential pathway to permanent residence. Prior to the pandemic, students were required to complete no more than 50% of their program online, and time spent studying online from outside Canada was deducted from the length of their PGWP.