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IRCC Extends Distance Learning Measures Until December 2023 for PGWP Eligibility: What You Need to Know


In a significant move, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced an extension of the transition period for distance learning measures until December 31, 2023. This decision has far-reaching implications for international students and their eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Pre-Pandemic Rules

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, international students were required to complete no more than 50% of their studies online. Additionally, any time spent studying online outside of Canada did not count towards PGWP eligibility.

Changes Due to the Pandemic

The pandemic disrupted travel and in-person education, prompting IRCC to relax the online study restrictions. Students who were already enrolled in PGWP-eligible programs as of March 2020, or who began such programs between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, can now count 100% of their overseas online study time towards PGWP eligibility.

Current Extension and Its Limitations

The latest extension allows students who start their studies between September 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023, to count only 50% of their online study time towards PGWP eligibility. This extension does not apply to students who begin their studies after September 1, 2023, or those who enroll in programs after August 31, 2022.

What is PGWP?

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that allows international students to work for almost any employer in Canada after completing their studies. The duration of the PGWP depends on the length of the study program and can last up to three years.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for a PGWP, students must complete an academic, vocational, or professional training program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is at least eight months long. They must also receive a transcript and an official letter from the DLI confirming the completion of their program.


The extension of distance learning measures by IRCC is a welcome relief for international students affected by the pandemic. However, it’s crucial to understand the limitations and eligibility criteria to make the most of this opportunity.

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