If you are a student planning to study in Canada or you’re someone that is following the Canadian immigration updates, you know that as a result of the pandemic, international students have been unable to travel to Canada unless they currently hold or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020. As of July 24, 2020, Canada has allowed international students from the United States to enter Canada but they still have to prove that their travel is non-optional and non-discretionary.
Given that over 650,000 international students at the higher education level studied in Canada in 2019, Canada is hoping to ease travel restrictions for foreign students in time for the fall semester. This has been recently demonstrated in a letter written by Canada’s immigration minister and health minister to the provinces, territories and designated learning institutions about ways to welcome more international students into the country within the coming months in the safest manner possible. In their letter, the ministers note that they value the significance of foreign students to Canada’s education system, culture, and economy and that all the levels of government as well as designated learning institutions must jointly support the safety of students and the Canadian people.
The Canadian government has also implemented a number of new policies to ensure that the country continues to be a viable option for international education during this worldwide pandemic. This includes a new two-step process that permits international students to get pre-approved so that they can start studying online, after which they would be allowed to enter Canada as long as their complete study permit application gets approved and the respective travel restrictions are lifted. Students will also be able to count their online studies toward a Post-Graduation Work Permit as long as they apply for the study permit before September 15, 2020, and at least 50% of the program is completed in Canada.
All in all, it is clear that the federal government is trying their best to balance helping international students to fulfill their education and immigration goals with prioritizing health and safety. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has reinforced the government’s commitment to international students in a statement saying: “We value the contribution of young people seeking a high-quality education in Canada, and we’re making every effort to minimize how current challenges affect their plans and dreams for the future.”
Please refer to our LinkedIn page to get access to online webinars or articles posted on the most recent Canadian immigration updates. To discuss the details of your situation, please reach out to our office and we will gladly assist you.