IRCC-related information

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)-related information

Create an IRCC account to manage your applications and account information.

With an IRCC secure account, you can:

  • Start an application with IRCC
  • Submit and pay for your application
  • Check the status of your application
  • Receive and view messages from IRCC
  • Update your designated learning institution (DLI) information

IRCC-related videos

We have created helpful videos to show you how to create an IRCC online account and how to understand your study permit.

Recent updates from IRCC

Learn how IRCC updates affect you.

January 22, 2024, IRCC announcement updates (as of February 12, 2024)

At Conestoga College, our commitment is to provide quality education and service excellence to all our students. On January 22, 2024, the Government of Canada made an announcement regarding significant policy changes to the International Student program to stabilize new growth for a period of two years. Please visit the IRCC website for the full announcement.

We are monitoring the situation closely to assess its impact on our students and the upcoming intakes at Conestoga. While there is still considerable uncertainty, we are committed to providing you with more information as soon as it becomes available. Updates to information on this page will be provided on an ongoing basis.

For now, below are the answers to several questions that have been asked so far:

I am a current student at Conestoga; how does the new announcement impact me?

The latest IRCC announcement stated that "Current study permit holders will not be affected," and "Study permit renewals will not be impacted."

How do I know if I need an Attestation letter and how do I obtain this?

As of January 22, 2024, each study permit application submitted to IRCC will require an Attestation letter from the province. Until that process is in place, new study permit applications are not being accepted by IRCC. Each province or territory is developing a process, which are expected to be in place by March 31, 2024. Please visit the IRCC website to learn more about the Attestation letter.

At this point in time, the process in Ontario is being developed and further details will be shared as they become available.

Students in Canada applying for a study permit extension do not require an attestation letter.

I have applied for the May 2024 intake, and I submitted my study permit application prior to January 22, 2024. Is there anything I need to do considering this new announcement?

Study permit applications that were submitted prior to January 22, 2024, should continue to be processed by IRCC. Please wait for the IRCC decision on your study permit application.

For May 2024 students who did not submit their study permit application prior to January 22, 2024, we recommend that you continue to monitor the updates from IRCC. We are dedicated to supporting you throughout this time and we will be reaching out to assist you in navigating your options, once more information is available.

What are the new eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program?

  • Starting September 1, 2024, students who attend a private college that has been licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college will no longer be eligible for a PGWP. Note: Conestoga is a public college and a designated learning institution (DLI) with no private partnerships. Therefore, this change will not impact Conestoga College programs.
  • Graduates of master's degree programs will soon be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit. Note: Conestoga does not currently offer master's degree programs.
  • On February 5, 2024, a new announcement from IRCC stated "graduates of programs that are at least two years in length at PGWP-eligible designated learning institutions are eligible for a 3-year PGWP, as are graduates of master's degree programs less than 2 years in length".

Who is eligible for an open work permit?

  • Eligibility is limited to the spouses and common-law partners of international students in graduate (master's and doctorate) and professional degree-granting programs only.
  • Once these changes are in effect, spouses and common-law partners of international students seeking to extend their existing work permit will continue to be eligible under this stream.

Who is not eligible for an open work permit?

Spouses and common-law partners of international students in undergraduate and college programs will no longer be eligible for an open work permit, unless they already hold an open work permit under this stream.

What type of immigration support and advising are available at Conestoga?

Contact an International Student Advisor (ISA) to help you understand Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) rules and regulations. ISAs are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) who provide immigration information.

Conestoga College is committed to supporting you during this time. We anticipate that IRCC will provide more clarity and additional information soon to help students and their institutions navigate through these changes. Both Conestoga College and the various levels of our federal and provincial governments value the addition of international students to our learning communities and support the success of the International Student Program.

We recognize that this announcement may have caused some concern for our students, and we assure you that we are actively seeking clarity and instruction from IRCC for next steps moving forward. We will provide you with accurate and updated information as soon as it becomes available.

If you are impacted by any of these changes and you need further support, please connect with:

International Admissions

For general information about the admissions process, email internationaladmissions@conestogac.on.ca.  

International Student Advisors (ISAs) *

International Transition Coordinators (ITCs) *

Conestoga College Counselling Services

Students requiring health, wellness, academic or career supports are invited to use the Ask for Help form to connect with other college resources. 

*Please note: our teams do not have any additional information about the IRCC announcement specifically, other than what has been presented here and in the official announcement.

Temporary public policies lifting the 20 hour per week restriction for off-campus work (effective January 1, 2024)

Effective January 1, 2024, until April 30, 2024, the following two eligibility requirements must be met to work off campus more than 20 hours per week during an academic term:         

  1. Students must be eligible to work off campus, and
  2. Students must have submitted their study permit application (initial or extension) before December 7, 2023.

Note

Students who applied for a study permit on or before Dec. 7, 2023, but submitted a study permit extension after December 7, 2023, can work off campus more than 20 hours per week during their academic session up until whichever of the following dates comes first:          

  1. Expiration of study permit associated with the application submitted to IRCC on or before December 7, 2023, or
  2. April 30, 2024, the end of the temporary policy period

Students who submitted their initial study permit application after December 7, 2023 do not qualify for any of the temporary policies and are not eligible to work off campus for more than 20 hours per week during the academic session.

Sources

Applications submitted on or before October 7, 2022 - Amended temporary public policy to lift the limitation that eligible study permit holders can work without a work permit no more than 20 hours per week off-campus during regular academic sessions          

Applications submitted between October 8, 2022 and December 7, 2023 - Second temporary public policy to lift the limitation that eligible study permit holders can work without a work permit no more than 20 hours per week off-campus during regular academic sessions          

For details, please visit Work off campus as an international student, or contact your assigned International Student Advisor (ISA).

Important reminders for international students

  1. As an international student, you are still expected to comply with the conditions of your study permit, actively pursue your program of study, and make reasonable academic progress.
  2. Your studies remain the priority. Make sure you attend classes regularly and submit assignments on time. Failing courses may negatively affect your current eligibility to work, as well as your future eligibility for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
  3. To benefit from this temporary rule, international students must still meet all the requirements for off-campus work.
  4. Students who have a reduced workload and are therefore considered registered as part-time remain ineligible to work on or off campus. Exception: If you are in your final term of your program and do not require a full course load to complete your program AND you have maintained full-time status for all previous terms.
  5. Students that have elected to take a break from studies are ineligible to work during their break.
Clarification - Restrictions limiting off-campus work hours temporarily lifted (May 4, 2023)

On May 4, 2023, the IRCC provided further clarification on the temporary policy that allows some students to work more than 20 hours per week off campus during the academic sessions, granted they meet all the eligibility requirements.          

1. Students who applied for their current study permit (initial or extension) on or before October 7, 2022:

  • are eligible to work over 20 hours per week off campus during their academic sessions, up until the expiry date on their current study permit or December 31, 2023, whichever of these dates comes first.

2. Students who submitted the application for their current study permit before October 7, 2022, and who subsequently applied for a study permit extension after October 7, 2022:

  • are eligible to work over 20 hours per week off campus during their academic sessions, up until the expiry date on their current study permit or December 31, 2023, whichever of these dates comes first.
    • If the IRCC approves the study permit extension before the current study permit has expired, the student can continue to work over 20 hours per week off campus during their academic sessions up until the expiry date on their current study permit.
    • If the current study permit expires in 2024, the student can work over 20 hours per week off campus during their academic sessions until December 31, 2023. 

3. Students who applied for their current study permit after October 7, 2022:

  • are not eligible to work over 20 hours per week off campus during their academic sessions.

For details, please visit Work off campus as an international student, or contact your assigned International Student Advisor (ISA).          

Temporary residence IRCC applications from within Canada (February 23, 2023)

Temporary residence IRCC applications submitted within Canada on or after February 23, 2023 require biometrics (unless otherwise exempt).          

The temporary policy exempting applicants from within Canada from providing their biometrics has been revoked. Students and their family members must now include valid biometrics in all IRCC applications submitted from within Canada, including study permit extension applications, CWP applications, PGWP applications, and Spouse Open Work Permit applications.          

Note: You only need to provide your biometrics once every 10 years. If you have already included your biometrics in a previous IRCC application, you can Find out if your biometrics are still valid.          

Source:Program delivery update: Removal of the public policy exempting foreign nationals in Canada applying for temporary residence from biometrics - Canada.ca          

Distance learning and Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility (from September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2024)
  • From September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2024
    • Students must complete at least 50% of their program from within Canada. Those classes can be completed online or in-person..
    • Time spent studying in your program while residing outside of Canada will not be deducted from the total duration of the PGWP, as long as it represents less than 50% of the total length of the program.
  • From September 1, 2024 onwards
    • The temporary policy regarding PGWP eligibility requirements and distance learning will expire.
    • Students must complete at least 50% of their program from within Canada and in-person on campus.
    • Time spent studying outside of Canada will be deducted from the total length of the PGWP.

For more information, visit the IRCC website or book an appointment with your International Student Advisor.          

Post-graduation work permit eligibility requirements: authorized leave documentation (January 10, 2022)

This update may interest students who are planning to take a leave from studies.          

On January 10, 2022, IRCC added new information that affects Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) applications when international students take a leave from their studies.          

What hasn't changed: International students are allowed to take a leave from studies, if such leave is authorized by the college and it isn't longer than 150 days.          

What's new: From now on, PGWP applications will have to include documentation from the college proving authorization for taking the leave in their application.          

For more information, visit Post-graduation work permit eligibility requirements.

Students planning to take a leave from studies must contact their International Student Advisor (ISA) first to find out what steps they need to follow, the implications of taking a leave from studies and what to do if they plan to be away from their studies for more than 150 days.