Will international students be able to return to Canada for the September 2020 intake? The answer veers on unlikely at the time of writing as the country has recently extended international travel restrictions on incoming foreign travellers until Sept. 30, 2020, reported CIC News.

This is Canada’s third time extending the travel restrictions that were originally put in place from March 18 until June 30. The federal government has been reviewing and adjusting their travel policies frequently in the wake of the pandemic.

Previously, the government hinted that international students will be able to return to the country this month. In a letter sent by the deputy minister of Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Laurie LeBlanc to Ontario’s designated learning institutions (DLI), the government was considering making amendments to travel restrictions that would allow international students to return to Canadian university campuses in September.

Travellers will be subject to a mandatory quarantine order, which has been extended as well. Exempt travellers must carry out a self-isolation period of 14 days if they are allowed into Canada.

When can international students return to Canada?

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), some international students are exempted from travel restrictions. To be able to enter Canada, international students must meet two requirements:

  • Travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose
  • Must be one of the following: 1) an international student with a valid study permit or who was approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020; 2) travelling directly from the US

Not all international students may meet this requirement, but Canada has been bolstering its efforts to support international students via the introduction of new rules. This includes allowing international students applying for a Canadian work permit not to have the length of their post-graduation work permit (PGWP) deducted even if they are studying online outside the country. This relaxation will take effect until April 30, 2021, extended from its previous Dec. 31, 2020 deadline.

The government had also introduced a two-step Canadian study permit approval process which will allow international students to start the semester online without a finalised study permit, and providing priority study permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online to expedite the process.

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