Complying with Canada’s study permit conditions

Dear Mr Brown,

I want to know what will happen if I have to drop out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know you said previously that I have to study and not violate my study permit, but I am not sure if there is an exception under COVID-19.

— ST


Dear ST:

Thank you for your query. I am not sure if you are referring to not being able to study at the school in person, or not study at all. However, I can provide a general response.


Online classes

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic international students who were studying in Canada prior to March 18, 2020 or whose programmes began in May or June 2020 and whose programmes of study are temporarily shifted to an online format, will still be considered compliant with their study permit conditions. These students must be registered in school and pursuing studies online at this time.


Not enrolled in classes

Should students not be actively enrolled in a programme (in person or online), then the best option is to either:

1. Change their status in Canada; or

2. Leave Canada.

If a school actually closes due to the pandemic, then a student also has the option of enrolling in a new programme of study within 150 days from the date the school closed.


Part-time studies

International students who are studying on a part-time basis or taking a break in their studies due to COVID-19 can continue to work on or off campus. They are still subject to the authorised number of work hours they would have been permitted as full-time students.


Essential services

Please note that the Government of Canada has temporarily removed the condition that limits international students to working a maximum of 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, provided they are working in an essential service or function such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods. This temporary change is in place until August 31, 2020.


Please visit jamaica2canada.com for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to jamaica2canada@gmail.com.


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