Extension of Policy Allowing Online Studies to Count Toward Post Graduation Work Permit Length

Study permit holders who studied online during COVID-19 may count 100% of their time studying online from outside of Canada toward the length of their post graduation work permit (PGWP). This policy has now been extended to cover any outside of Canada online studies until August 31, 2022.

This policy also allows for individuals who have completed two (2) PGWP-eligible programs to count the time studying online for both programs.

Time spent studying online from outside of Canada prior to applying for a study permit or after August 31, 2022 will not count toward the length of the PGWP.

PGWP opens pathways to Canadian immigration

Having Canadian work and study experience will help you tremendously with an immigration application. 6 in 10 international students (first-time study permit holders) who worked during or after their studies became permanent residents.

Certain economic-class immigration pathways like Express Entry, Quebec Experience Program(PEQ), and the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) all highly value Canadian work experience. Some programs even require it.

The Canadian Experience Class, for example, is an Express Entry-managed program that requires one year of Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation. The PEQ, is a popular pathway for French-speaking international student graduates in Quebec. Also, the PNP opens immigration pathways for people who are not eligible for Express Entry.

You have up to 180 days to apply for a PGWP after you get your

  • degree or diploma
  • transcript or
  • official letter from your school

You can apply for a PGWP if you

  • were enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020 or
  • started or will start a program between spring 2020 and summer 2022 and
    • you have a study permit or
    • you’ve been approved for a study permit or
    • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program
      • Your study permit must eventually be approved.

and you

  • completed a study program
    • at a designated learning institution
    • that was at least 8 months long and
    • which led to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • maintained full-time status as a student during each semester of your study program
    • This doesn’t include your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an approved leave from your studies.
    • If you had to stop studying or change to part-time studies between March 2020 and the fall semester in 2020 because of reasons related to COVID-19, you may still be eligible for a PGWP.
  • graduated from one of the following:
    • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade/technical institution, university or CEGEP (in Quebec)
    • a private post-secondary institution in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public institutions in Quebec
    • a private or public secondary or post-secondary institution (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, that leads to a diploma of vocational studies (DVS), or an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS);
      • An AVS can be less than 900 hours if combined with a DVS.
    • a Canadian private institution that is authorized to award degrees under provincial law (for example, an Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree), but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province, which may not include all programs of study offered by the private institution.

Exceptions to the eligibility requirements

You aren’t eligible for a PGWP if you

  • only received first stage approval, but don’t have a final decision on your application
    • You must have a port of entry letter letter of introduction that shows you’ve been approved for a study permit.
  • already received a PGWP
  • studied English or French as a second language
  • took general interest or self-improvement courses
  • participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by Global Affairs Canada
  • had funding from Global Affairs Canada
    • Note: If you got a Study in Canada scholarship, you’re still eligible for a PGWP.
  • got the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
  • participated in the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchanges Program
  • participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • completed the major part of a study program through distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence)

For more information please visit the IRCC website.



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