Canada: International students can complete 100% studies online

International students can complete 100% of their studies online
  • International students can complete 100% of their programmes with an approved Canadian post-secondary institution from their home countries and still be eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Program (PGWP)
  • International students who graduate with a post-secondary degree online will now be eligible for Canada’s three-year post-graduate open work permit.

    Prior to this change, online learning could not count towards a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). Canada had introduced an exception because of the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed students who completed 50 per cent of their studies from abroad to work in Canada after graduation.

    However, now, international students who complete their entire program from abroad will still have the option to apply for a PGWP.

    “Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, want you to stay here.”

    This new announcement came just weeks after Canada announced the current PGWP holders can renew their work permit for up to 18 months.

    Usually, PGWPs have a duration of up to three years, and cannot be renewed or extended.

  • The announcement follows others in the past months indicating that the Canadian government is prepared to assist colleges and universities in the pandemic through more flexible immigration policy


  • Providing employment and permanent residency opportunities may be an increasingly important component of Canada’s ability to maintain market share in a quickly changing competitive landscape


  • International students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions will now be able to apply for Canada’s popular Post-Graduation Work Program (PGWP) regardless of how much of their programme is completed online and remotely.


  • Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino, announced last week that international students can complete up to 100% of their degrees from outside of Canada and still be eligible for the PGWP. This is an expansion of the previous exception announced in September 2020 that permitted international students to complete 50% of their studies remotely due to pandemic travel challenges.


  • Mr Mendicino says the new flexibility is in line with Canada’s immigration goals: “This new policy means that students hoping to work in Canada after graduation won’t miss out on opportunities, while ensuring that Canada meets the urgent needs of our economy for today and tomorrow.”

To be eligible, international students must:

  • Be enrolled in a PGWP-eligible programme;
  • Be studying in a programme that began – or will begin in – any semester from spring 2020 to fall 2021, or whose programme was already in progress as of March 2020;
  • Have a study permit or approval for a study permit, or have applied for a study permit prior to starting their programme that is eventually approved;
  • Meet all other PGWP criteria.

Just last month, the Canadian government announced that former international graduates whose PGWP is expired or about to expire are now eligible to apply for an open work permit valid for 18 months. Previously, students were only able to apply for one work permit term under the PGWP.