October 5, 2020. For international students hoping to study in Canada, the Canadian government announced the biggest news of 2020 this past October 2, 2020.


PART 1 HIGHLIGHTS


Effective October 20, 2020 international students can enter Canada for their studies if they satisfy all the conditions.

These conditions include that entering Canada is essential. 

Examples of essential INCLUDE:

  • you need to be in Canada for your program (for laboratory work, workshops, or similar)
  • your school isn’t offering online study options
  • you can’t study online from your home country because of internet restrictions or bandwidth limitations
  • you can’t participate in live online classes from your home country because of the difference in time zones

WHO IS EXCLUDED: 


You can’t enter if you are travelling for optional or discretionary reasons, such as for tourism, recreation or entertainment.


Also excluded are any students admitted to an institution that is not a “DLI” or Designated Learning Institute. Mainly, all institutions receiving funding from their provincial governments will be included and many private institutions also. But you must check to make sure your admission is to a DLI.


Also excluded are any students – EVEN IF ADMITTED TO A DLI – if the DLI has not received approval by the province or territory that licenses it for its “readiness plan”. 


It is expected that by October 20, 2020 it will be published and clear which are the institutions given DLI status, and which DLI institutions have an approved readiness plan. 


PART II WHAT DO TO ON ARRIVAL

When the border services officer greets you, they look at several factors, including

  • your reason for travelling to Canada
  • that you’re able to complete a 14-day quarantine period as soon as you arrive at your final destination
  • if you either
    • have time to complete your quarantine before you physically attend classes, or
    • can study online during your quarantine

YOU MUST HAVE A CLEAR AND WRITTEN PLAN FOR QUARANTINE.

Remember:  for any type of visa to any country a border official can always refuse you entry. This announcement reminds students that: 
A border services officer will make the final decision on whether your reason for travelling to Canada is non-discretionary or non-optional.

However, the Canadian government also made clear:

The travel of asymptomatic international students who have the appropriate documents to enter Canada and whose DLI is on the list of institutions with approved COVID-19 readiness plans in place will be considered to be non-discretionary and non-optional, unless there is evidence that they are clearly coming to Canada for a discretionary or optional purpose, such as tourism.

Basically, this means if you have satisfied all the requirements you don’t really need to worry about getting into Canada unless you are not really coming to be a student.

You won’t have time deducted from the length of your PGWP for studies you complete outside Canada until April 30, 2021.

Part III ANYTHING NEW ABOUT POST-GRADUATION WORK PERMITS (PGWPs)?

Yes!
Any time spent studying online from outside Canada since spring 2020 now counts toward the length of a PGWP. (Before, only the time spent studying online after you were approved for a study permit counted.)

As announced before, up to 50% of a program completed outside Canada By April 30, 2021 can count towards a PGWP.

PART IV CAN FAMILY MEMBERS COME?

It depends!

The announcement says immediate family members may be able to accompany an international student to Canada if the reason for travel is non-optional or non-discretionary, such as getting established in Canada in support of the principal applicant’s study program. This could include a spouse or common-law partner, a dependant, or in the case of a minor child who will be studying in Canada, a parent or legal guardian.

So it really depends on each case. A parent or guardian of a minor student (not yet 18 though in some provinces this age is 19) may get permission to come. Similarly, if the student needs assistance for other reasons such as physical challenges, Canada may consider granting a visitor visa in such circumstances. 

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/students.html
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/10/update-on-travel-restriction-exemptions-for-international-students.html

As always, send questions to blog@cuac.ca

Dani Zaretsky

CUAC Global – Founder / Director