Immigration experts believe that the Canadian government is not doing everything it can to facilitate retaining international students. Experts believe that to make life a little easier for international students in Canada, the government should consider the following steps:
- Expanding the universal healthcare coverage to include international students
- Placing a limit on tuition fees for international students
- Expanding the eligibility criteria for settlement services provided by the government to include international students
However, it is not to say that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not made important changes to accommodate international students this year.
What Changes Were Introduced by the IRCC to Help International Students?
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world in March 2020, thousands of international students were concerned about their status in Canada. International students with a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) require a full year of work experience before they are eligible to apply for permanent residence.
Also, earlier a PGWP could not be renewed. With many international students losing their jobs and facing short working hours due to social and travel restrictions, many were facing the prospect of being out-of-status.
To address this issue, Canada’s Immigration Minister announced in January that PGWP holders will have the opportunity to apply for a new open work permit to gather enough experience to apply for permanent residence.
International students, reading in Canada, with a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020, were given 6 months to apply for this new work permit.
The IRCC also relaxed its restrictions on international students completing 100% of their study program online. Now, international students who were unable to come to Canada due to border closures will be allowed to complete 100% of their study program online and still be eligible to apply for a PGWP.