Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Quebec says certain international students who have completed their programs can start work while their application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is being processed.

The right to start work is specifically for International students whose Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) and study permit expire on December 31 this year after being automatically extended due to COVID-19.

These students can apply for the PGWP and start work even if they have not yet received all of the documentation indicating they have completed their undergraduate studies.

But they have to act soon.

The application for a PGWP has to be submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada before December 31 this year with a letter explaining in detail:

  • The reason they are submitting an incomplete application.
  • The fact that their CAQ and study permit were automatically extended due to COVID-19.
  • If applicable, the changes that occurred in their studies due to COVID-19.

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During the third quarter of this year, Canada suffered a drop in net migration of 27,143 as international students, prevented from travelling due to COVID-19 border restrictions were unable to come to Canadian universities and colleges.

That loss of international students is a serious blow for Canadian educational institutions.

According to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada, Canadian universities and colleges are increasingly wooing international students to study in Canada and grow their enrollment.

During the decade that closed at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, the growth in the number of international students attending Canadian universities and colleges far outstripped the growth in the number of Canadian students.

“Enrolments for Canadian students in formal programs grew by 10.9 per cent, from 1,486,602 to 1,648,923. Over the same period, the number of international students more than tripled, from 101,304 … to 318,153.”

Pre-Pandemic Plan to Double Numbers

Ahead of the pandemic, Canada was admitting close to 200,000 international students each year, representing a market capitalization of close to $2 billion annually, and Ottawa had plans to double those numbers this year.

An important consideration for many of those international students is the opportunity to access the Canadian labour market following graduation. 

Under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, international students can work in Canada for up to three years after graduation if they have degrees from Canadian colleges or universities.

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