Canada immigration news: Canada will allow online learning to count for Express Entry points for international students unable to attend universities and colleges in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an announcement on the federal Express Entry website, Ottawa says those studying for degrees, diplomas and certificates between March 2020 and August 2022 qualify for Canadian educational credential points if completing all or part of their program:
- via distance learning,
- from outside Canada, or
- through part-time studies.
Previously, online learning did not count for any Express Entry points.
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Pandemic travel restrictions meant thousands of foreign students who would previously have attended Canadian schools were unable to do so.
Canadian authorities moved quickly, first allowing them to learn online and then allowing online learning to count towards the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
The PGWP allows international students to work for up to three years after graduation. This work experience then counts towards an application for permanent residence.
Before the pandemic, online learning did not count towards the PGWP, the length of which is tied to the length of the course studied.
Post Graduation Work Permit: How Long Is It Valid?
The validity of a PGWP is linked to the length of study. If a candidate studied for less than eight months, they are not eligible.
|Length of Study||8 months to 2 years||2 years or more||More than one program|
|Duration of PGWP||Same as length of study||3 years||Cumulative total length of study is applicable|
Canada’s federal government covets international students, establishing a clear path to permanent residency dating back to well before the pandemic struck.
International students are increasingly contributing to the Canadian labour force, according to a recent Statistics Canada study.
In the decade that ended in 2019, the number of international students working in Canada annually jumped from 22,000 to 354,000, a 16-fold jump. While only 18 per cent of international students were holding down jobs while going to school in Canada in 2000, half of them were working while taking classes by 2019.
Canada welcomes more than 350,000 international students every year. To be eligible to study in Canada these students must demonstrate that they:
- have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada;
- have enough money to pay for their tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation;
- are law-abiding citizens with no criminal records;
- are in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, and;
- can satisfy an immigration officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stays.
Once issued a study permit, these students can work in Canada under the following categories:
- on campus without a work permit;
- off campus with a work permit;
- in co-op and internship programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum, with a work permit.
Survey Says Canada Best For International Students
Canada is the best country in the world when it comes to getting a college or university education, say international students surveyed by IDP Connect.
The Australia-based, global education services provider’s latest Emerging Futures report shows international students prefer Canada over the United States, United Kingdom and Australia by a wide margin.
International students told IDP that Canada was their first choice of destination for their higher education in 27 per cent of cases.
That compares to only 20 per cent who favoured the United States, and 19 per cent for each of the United Kingdom and Australia.