Additional Measures to Support International Students

February 17, 2021
By Bob Peters

Cornwall Ontario – International students bring so much to Canada, contributing more than $21 billion annually to the economy and supporting the vitality of many communities.

International Student

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).

“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,” said Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “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.”

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 that 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.

St. Lawrence College

St. Lawrence College has welcomed a growing number of international students to its Cornwall campus. At the current time, over 300 international students are enrolled at the Cornwall campus, pursuing educational opportunities across more than 30 programs, including business, logistics, law enforcement, paramedics, health care, video game programming and skilled trades.

Regional Immigration Pilot

Cornwall is part of a two-year pilot regional immigration pilot project that will be of interest to people looking to become permanent residents. This includes the International Student stream of th the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, which allows foreign workers, international students and others with the right skills, experience and education to apply for a nomination for permanent residence in Ontario. You can learn more via the following info sheet:

Quick Facts

  • In 1971, there were 6.6 people of working age for each senior. There are currently 3 Canadian workers for every retired Canadian, but by 2035, there will be only 2 workers for every retiree. Without immigrants to help support the needs of an aging population, younger Canadians will end up paying more per person to provide the same benefits.
  • These measures apply to all international students who
    • are enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program
    • began, or will begin, a program in any semester from spring 2020 to fall 2021, or whose program was already in progress in March 2020
    • have a study permit or approval for a study permit, or applied for a study permit prior to starting their program and are eventually approved
    • 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.

Additional Resources

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