We meet hundreds of students every year whom we so wish we had met earlier in time. It is astonishing for us to learn that many international students are not aware of their Study Permit conditions and potential Postgraduate study permit eligibility.
For this reason, something which the student may not even realize or did intentionally results in them not being in compliance with their Study Permit conditions, or be ineligible for a Postgraduate work permit (yes, being in compliance with Study Permit Conditions and Post-graduate Work Permit Eligibility are two separate things). The conditions are actually very simple, it’s just that the students must be aware right from the beginning so that they can take the right actions at the right time.
These are some of the most important things that we wish all international students were informed in time:
1). Maintain Full-time academic status in all Academic Sessions: In order to be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit, a student studying at an eligible institution must maintain full-time status in all academic terms except those which their institution has designated as a “scheduled break” for their program. Many institutions deem the Summer term as the scheduled break, which is when the students may choose to not be enrolled or be enrolled part-time. It is important for the student to know what the “full-time” definition is for their institution. This information should be available on the institution’s website, is covered in the orientation sessions, or is a good question to ask your student advisor at your University/ College. A student who is not enrolled in full-time studies, may not work at all (not even 20 hours/ week) while studying.
2). Know and Understand your work Authorisation: Be aware of when you are and when you are not authorized to work. Usually, students are authorized to work part-time 20 hours/ week when in term, and full time in scheduled breaks. When in doubt, do not work until you talk to a student adviser at your College/ University and/or a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant/ Lawyer. Working more than how much the student is authorized to work, can cause complications in your future immigration applications.
3). Changing institutions: It is okay to change your program or institution while studying in Canada. This may be done whether or not you have completed your previous program. We meet many students each year who go term after term, struggling in their chosen program despite knowing that the program is not a right fit for them, and thinking that they have no choice. IRCC understands that students may want to change their program/ institution of study mid-way, it just needs to be done in the right way, and IRCC needs to be informed in a timely manner. You will need a Letter of acceptance (similar to the one you should have received when you started your first program of studies in Canada). The important bit to keep in mind is that you must resume studying in Canada within 150 days of ceasing your last study and inform IRCC. Students may or may not be able to legally work during this period between studies, depending on their circumstances.
4). Ensure that you Maintain your Status in Canada: Usually the initial Study Permit is given to students for the intended duration of study as per the LOA. However, if for any reason your study duration has extended beyond the Study Permit expiry date (which happens often), you must apply for a Study Permit Extension well in time before the expiry of your study permit. Many students forget about this, miss the date, and end up causing unnecessary complications. We advise students to set up reminders well in advance to apply for their extension so as to be able to continue their studies uninterruptedly.
Talk to us to discuss your specific situation. We are here to help you make sense of the Canadian immigration system, discuss how it applies to you, and help you with the best way forward.