CIMM – International Students – Facilitation Measures – May 12, 2022
The Government of Canada recognizes that international students provide tremendous social, cultural and economic benefits to campuses and communities across Canada.
International students contribute over $22.3B per year to the Canadian economy – greater than exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft.
International graduates are also a source of key talent to help support Canada’s future economic growth and counteract the country’s aging demographic.
The Government of Canada is committed to the success of the international student program and will continue to adapt and respond to the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Study permit processing
The Department met the spring 2021 commitment, by processing over 99% of complete study permit applications received before May 15 in time for the fall 2021 semester. Nearly 29,000 study permit applications were captured as part of that commitment.
IRCC will not offer the same processing commitment as last year as it created large operational pressures. Instead, the Department will work toward enhancing and meeting its overall service standard more consistently for all fully completed applications.
COVID-19 Temporary changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
Through the pandemic, the Department has made temporary policy changes to encourage students to continue pursuing their Canadian programs of study and to support the international education sector’s adjustment to ongoing border measures.
In November 2021, the Department announced an extension to temporary measures on distance learning and the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program. These special measures allow international students to complete up to 100% of their studies at a Canadian designated learning institution online from outside Canada and remain eligible for a PGWP. Studies completed online from abroad between spring 2020 and August 31, 2022, count toward the length of a PGWP.
Update on Processing
Due to the Ukraine situation and other processing pressures, IRCC is struggling to meet the current level of demand. However, based on the current pace of input and output, IRCC expects to be back on track for a 60-day commitment to processing by July 2, 2022. That being said, the Ukraine situation is still evolving and resource implications are still being assessed.
The Department is seeing an ever-increasing demand for Canada’s study offering, resulting in growing processing pressures:
In 2021, the Department received approximately 556,700 applications for new study permits. This compares to approximately 316,000 new study permit applications in 2020, representing a 56% increase.
From January to March 2022, the Department received approximately 175,000 applications for new study permits (including extensions). This compares to approximately 131,800 for the same time period in 2020, a 32% increase.
Based on the volume of study permits confirmed, approximately 462,900 international students arrived in Canada in 2021.
From January 1, 2022, to February 28, 2022, a total of 23,950 study permits have been authorized and are pending arrival. The 5-top source countries with study permits authorized pending arrival are:
India – 13,969
Philippines – 897
People's Republic of China – 640
Nigeria – 637
Japan – 605
Temporary Policy Changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program and Distance Learning
Under normal circumstances, 50% of a program of study at a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI) must be completed in Canada and in class and time spent studying from outside Canada is not counted toward the length of a PGWP.
Temporary policy changes have been made to ensure international students can remain eligible for the PGWP if they study in Canada or outside Canada via distance learning:
Students who are studying in Canada and whose classes have been moved online due to the pandemic will remain eligible for the PGWP. There is no specific end date to these temporary policy changes.
On November 26, 2021, the Department announced an extension to August 31, 2022, to temporary measures which allow students enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program to complete up to 100% of their studies online from outside Canada, and have them count towards PGWP eligibility and length. These measures apply to all programs undertaken and ongoing between March 2020 and the summer 2022 semester.
On April 22, 2022, IRCC announced that, beginning summer 2022, PGWP-holders with work permits set to expire between January and December 2022 will be eligible for a one-time additional work permit of up to 18 months.
Effective January 15, 2022, international students 18 years and older may only enter Canada if fully vaccinated. Given the lack of vaccine access for many minors globally, international students under the age of 18 who are not fully vaccinated or unvaccinated may be permitted entry provided they attend a DLI with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. Each traveller should ensure they are eligible for entry through Travel Wizard and leverage the ArriveCAN app to submit their vaccination details.
Temporary Public Policy for Former Students in Canada with Expired or Expiring Post-Graduation Work Permits
On January 8, 2021, the Department announced a temporary public policy to issue open work permits of up to 18 months to foreign nationals with an expired or expiring PGWP. The public policy was open to applications from January 27, 2021, to July 27, 2021.
Temporary Public Policy for Granting Permanent Residency to Recent International Graduates from a Canadian Institution
In May 2021, the Department launched a temporary pathway to grant permanent residence for foreign nationals in Canada, outside of Quebec, with a recent credential from a Canadian post-secondary institution. Intake to the pathway closed shortly after opening when the cap of 40,000 spaces was reached.
An uncapped parallel pathway was established for French-speaking and bilingual international students from Canadian Institutions intending to live outside Quebec. Approximately 7,000 applications were received when the pathway closed in November 2021.
It was announced on April 22, 2022, that applicants to the TR to PR pathway who are awaiting processing will be permitted to leave Canada and will become eligible for work permits valid through 2024. Immediate family members of these applicants will also be eligible for an open work permit.
Temporary Public Policy to Extend Stay, Document Requirements and Biometrics
In July 2020, a public policy was introduced to exempt foreign nationals from the requirement that they apply for restoration within 90 days of losing status. Eligible former students whose status expired between January 30, 2020, and May 30, 2021, and who remained in Canada, were eligible for this public policy exemption. This public policy expired on August 31, 2021.
Since July 15, 2020, the Department has exempted temporary residence applicants applying from within Canada, from having to provide their biometrics. Biometrics is required for students applying from outside of Canada.
Dual intent is present when a foreign national, seeking to enter Canada as a temporary resident, may be considering applying for permanent residence despite being required to leave at the end of their authorized stay. The possibility that an applicant for temporary residence may later be approved for permanent residence does not absolve them from the requirements for becoming a temporary resident.
Permanent residence may not be an option for every international student and those who are not accepted or do not want to remain in Canada are expected to return home.
Supporting Facts and Figures
Between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021, the Department received 556,700 study permit applications (76% increase from 2020), finalized 557,700 study permits (153% increase from 2020), and confirmedFootnote * 317,100 study permits (390% increase from 2020).
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