Foreign students denied work permits over ‘distance learning’
Jagrit Sahni, who earned an undergraduate degree from England and a diploma in food and nutrition management from George Brown College before enrolling at Niagara College, is among a group of recent graduates who have been told by Immigration that their diplomas won’t qualify them for post-graduation work permits.
Foreign graduates from Niagara College who have taken many of their courses online are faced with having to leave Canada early because they’ve been deemed ineligible for post-graduate work permits.
With online courses becoming an increasingly mainstream part of higher education, their exclusion from the three-year work permit program for new graduates — meant to retain the talents of the best students coming to Canada — raises questions about how well immigration policy is adapting to evolving technologies.
The students in the school’s general arts and sciences program had high hopes of earning Canadian work experience after their study visas expired, given that the school is listed on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s “designated learning institutions list” for the work permit program.
But they were told their studies failed to meet the requirements because the bulk of their classes were conducted online and considered “distance learning.”