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Impact of Probation or Suspension on PGWP Eligibility?

International students who hold study permit in Canada must actively pursue their education. This means they must remain enrolled throughout their study permit and make reasonable and timely progress in their studies. To maintain legal status and meet eligibility criteria, students must pursue full-time studies for a minimum duration of each academic year. It may vary depending on the designated learning institute (DLI) they are enrolled in. For instance, some universities require students to attend at least two out of three semesters in an academic year, and scheduled program breaks are generally allowed. 

Failing to comply with these requirements could put their legal status and ability to work on and off campus at risk. It could also impact their immigration applications, including potential obstacles in obtaining a PGWP or other work permits after completing their studies. In rare cases, it even results in deportation from Canada.

Suspension Considerations

Imagine a scenario: Where a student has been suspended from their current college. He cannot actively pursue their studies full-time during a semester. The study interruption may be due to family, health, or financial issues.  In such situations, students must understand the implications for their legal status in Canada and their ability to stay or work there. When faced with suspension or related circumstances, students should keep the following considerations in mind:

  • If a student needs to take a break from their study program, the absence must be approved by the designated learning institute (DLI) they are enrolled in. 
  • The duration of the absence must be at most 150 days from the start date of the leave.

If a student fails to resume their study program within 150 days from the start of the leave or suspension, they must either switch their status from student to visit or leave Canada altogether. 

Failure to convert to a visitor visa or leave the country would result in non-compliance with the conditions of their study permit.

  •  During the leave or suspension period, the student is not allowed to work, whether part-time or full-time, except during the last semester of their study program. They can only resume work once enrolled full-time in a designated learning institute (DLI).
  •  The officer will consider the severity of the suspension or dismissal and other factors to determine whether the student has made reasonable progress in actively pursuing their study program. 

If a student is suspended, their study permit will be valid. In this situation, the student has a few options:

  • They can switch to a different designated learning institute (DLI) or change their program within the same DLI if the change is permissible under their study permit.
  • Alternatively, if the student stays within 150 days of ceasing their studies, they can choose to convert their status from student to visit or leave Canada. Failure to convert to a visitor visa or leave the country would result in non-compliance with the conditions of their study permit.

Students need to inform the federal department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) of any changes or updates to their situation. Notably, students are not required to notify the IRCC when transferring from one study program to another within the same DLI. If a student extend their stay as a visitor, they will not be permitted to continue their studies once their study permit has expired.

What are the impacts of probation or suspension?

A student’s eligibility for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) after completing their study program is affected by probation or suspension. To remain eligible for a PGWP, a student on probation or suspension must switch to another designated learning institution (DLI) and remain full-time, even if they can’t register for enough credits at their current college.

Failure to comply with these conditions may result in enforcement action, such as an exclusion order, which could prevent the student from returning to Canada for up to one year. The duration of the exclusion order may increase to five years if it is issued due to misrepresentation.

To return before one year, a student must obtain Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC). However, this does not guarantee re-entry and depends on the severity of the non-compliance and misrepresentations.

 Final Thoughts

Failing to meet the requirements of a study permit due to suspension, probation, or low course load can negatively affect future applications under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. It may also result in delays of up to six months for obtaining a study or work permit, starting from the date of non-compliance or unauthorized work.

However, there are certain circumstances under which a student may be exempt from fulfilling study permit conditions, such as facing temporary financial difficulties due to unforeseen circumstances. In such cases, students may receive consideration for resuming studies and obtaining a PGWP.

If you are experiencing challenges in your studies or need help to meet the course load requirements, we can assist you in changing your college to ensure compliance with the study permit conditions. Our services are available for all colleges across Canada.

If you require assistance with your immigration needs, you can contact us to determine your eligibility. Call us at +1 (778) 582-5000  or via email at Alternatively, visit our website.

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