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Overseas Students May Get Post-Grad Work Permits in Canada

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In what could be called a very important development--from the perspectives of the foreign students in Canada--the nation’s Federal Court has reportedly asked the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to re-evaluate the petition filed for post-graduation work permit (PGWP) by an overseas student whose original application was not entertained only because he employed the online option to complete a few of his courses.

The student, an Indian citizen, studied Information Security Management for a year at Fanshawe College prior to finishing his education at Niagara College. These establishments are situated in Ontario even as Ottawa duly recognizes them as Designated Learning Institutions.

The court decision has given new optimism to many, especially other overseas graduates from Niagara College who also have taken some parts of their courses by distance learning. Despite the fact that these people believed that their studies in the Maple Leaf Country would make them qualified for a PGWP, they face the scene of having to exit the nation before than designed.

For those not tuned in, the PGWP enables graduates, who duly complete their education in the Maple Leaf Country, to obtain handy Canadian employment experience, for a maximum of three years. This open work permit, which permits its holder to proffer their professional services for a Canadian recruiter/firm, in any segment and in any location in the nation, is over and over again witnessed as a useful bridge towards the cherished Permanent Resident (PR) position in the country and, ultimately, the nation’s much sought after citizenship.

Coming back to the case, the student in question was refused the PGWP on the ground that 5 of the 6 courses he finished at the Niagara College were online courses, even while “distance learning” does not matter for the reasons of the PGWP eligibility.

But, the student, who reportedly stood for himself throughout the case, asserted that he gave the permanent student tuition charges and received 42 in-class credits from Fanshawe College and 3 in-class credits from Niagara College, which, jointly, made up 75% of all his course work in the country.

Although the permanent general arts and science diploma curriculum of the Niagara College characteristically takes two years to accordingly complete, global students--with a Bachelor’s Degree from out-of-the-country who finished a year of studies at a Canadian post-secondary institution--can shift to Niagara College even as they get the diploma in only one semester.

Still, it is mandatory that aspirants to the PGWP submit an application for a work permit inside 90 days of obtaining written corroboration from their academic foundation that they have accordingly fulfilled the conditions of their course.

In the case of the student, the immigration official failed to consider his course work at Fanshawe College with the reason being the same was duly completed in December 2012, over 90 days prior to he filed an application for the work permit.

In his observation, the concerned justice wrote that the (immigration) official did not act in a fair manner when he depended on the (immigration body) guidebook to review the application based only on the courses essentially taken from Niagara College when he should have passed his judgment on the basis of all credits that made a contributions to the candidate fulfilling the condition for the course of study suitably concluded at the Niagara College.

Hope Floats for New Students from Abroad

Several overseas graduates from Niagara College have already kept hold of an attorney for what they believe will become a class-action court case against the school, claiming they were ill-advised into believing they would be entitled for the PGWP, post the completion of their study courses. Reportedly, the motion of certification is likely to be heard afterwards in 2016.

New stakeholders--and this comprises students & immigration attorneys--have reportedly stated that the PGWP rules in their present form are not the latest, and do not consider the truths of modern higher education, where numerous courses are either completely, or in part, online.


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