Ottawa, February 12, 2021 — International students bring so much to Canada, contributing more than $21 billion annually to Canada’s economy and supporting the vitality of its communities.

The pandemic has presented myriad challenges for international students, and the Government of Canada has taken action to assist them through this difficult time with a variety of measures, including offering open work permits for former international students who hold or held a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

As part of the Government’s efforts to support international students, Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today further measures to ensure international students won’t miss out on opportunities due to the pandemic after they graduate. With the prospect of many international students continuing online learning from abroad for several more months, temporary changes to the PGWP Program put in place earlier in the pandemic are being extended and expanded.

These measures will assist international students by ensuring studies completed outside Canada will count towards a future PGWP, and by allowing international students to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a PGWP. The measures apply to all international students who are enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program, and meet all other PGWP criteria.

The government has made significant efforts to encourage international students to settle permanently in Canada. They bring strong employment and language skills, bolstered by their Canadian education and work experience, so they are typically well positioned to apply for permanent resident status. More than 58,000 graduates successfully applied to immigrate permanently in 2019, and their decisions to stay in Canada will help to address our stark demographic challenges.

As Canada confronts the pandemic’s second wave and charts a course for recovery, attracting skilled immigrants is a central part of its plan. This new policy will help more graduates fill pressing needs in areas like health care, technology and more. It will help even more former international students build their futures in Canada, contributing in ways large and small to our short term recovery and long term prosperity.

“Whether as health workers on the pandemic’s front lines, or as founders of some of the most promising start-ups, international students are giving back to communities across Canada as we continue the fight against the pandemic. Their status may be temporary, but the contributions of international students are lasting. 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. Our message to international students and graduates is simple: We don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.” — The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

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