Although every country is trying its level best, Canada has significantly done better than other countries in providing support to its international students amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Canadian government has taken several steps to minimize the effect of covid-19 on around 6,40,000 international students who are currently studying across the country. Foreign students are also important for Canada because they support approximately 2,00,000 Canadian jobs and contribute nearly $22 billion to the economy every year.
The government of Canada has set up the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to individuals who have been affected by Coronavirus. Through this initiative, international students who meet the eligibility criteria will get $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. In addition to this, the government has announced that those who have been paying back student loans will get an interest-free break from payment for the period of 6 months.
The government has also announced that those whose application of the extension of post-graduation work permit or study permit is under review may benefit from implied status, and they may continue their working or studying.
Currently, IRCC is also accepting the immigration applications that are not complete as the IRCC recognizes that the current situation may limit the applicants in completing their forms. the IRCC is giving an additional 90 days to complete the missing documents or steps.
Most of the international students in Canada can work up to 20 hours per week. But to help fight the Covid-19 challenge, IRCC has allowed international students to work more than 20 hours in 10 priority sectors, which includes Energy and utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Food, Health, Water, Transportation, Government, Safety and Manufacturing.
Due to COVID-19, most airlines are grounded, leaving many international students unable to reach Canada to begin their studies in May and June intakes. Giving significant relief to them, the Canadian government announced that the students with valid study permits might start their classes online. the government further said by adding that the duration of PSWP will not be affected by stating studies online.
In recent years, IRCC has been giving more opportunities to international students for permanent residency. The government considers them ideal for PR as they have Canadian education and know Canadian culture. In the coronavirus crisis, the IRCC has increased the frequency of Express entry draws in which it is increasingly giving opportunities to international students who are in Canada. It actually makes sense as the candidates are in Canada and likely to be less affected by coronavirus disruption.
If we see the overall picture, we infer that even during the coronavirus pandemic, the country is sending positive signals to international students, which is very encouraging. Canada’s steps taken from international students is proof that the nation values them, and their future is safe. We might see more international students heading to Canada to complete their studies after the Covid-19 situation fades.