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International Students & COVID-19

Disclaimer: The information on this page is unofficial and subject to change. Please review the original source of the information, hyperlinked in each section of the summaries listed below.

IRCC Website

All international students are encouraged to continue visiting the IRCC Website for specific information, answers, and updates from the Government of Canada related to international students during COVID-19. The IRCC Website is reviewed and updated regularly.

Nov 18 Update: Western's COVID-19 Readiness Plan has been approved by the Ontario Government. Western, Brescia, King's, & Huron have been approved as Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) able to reopen to international students whot aren't currently in Canada. Eligible international students who hold a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit can now travel to Canada, provided they meet specific requirements and develop a safe 14-day quarantine plan.

All students arriving from abroad (international and Canadian citizens/PRs) are required to register their quarantine plan and follow the steps on the International Arrival website.

Questions? Please check the IESC COVID-19 FAQ webpage, email, or book an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

Immigration Support

If you are wondering about visa, permit, and/or passport extension, you can book a phone or virtual meeting with one of Western's International Student Advisors by emailing: Please be aware that processing times are changing.

If your visa is set to expire soon: Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) advises that you apply online to extend your status before it expires. This allows you to maintain your temporary resident status in Canada and thus, allows you to continue studying or working while your application for permit renewal is processed by IRCC. During this time, you will have legal status as a temporary resident, referred to as "implied status", but will not have a valid study permit or work permit to demonstrate your status. You also remain subject to the same conditions listed on your expired study or work permit.

If you have already applied to renew your study permit and visa are under an "implied status", you can continue to study and work even after your current expiry date, as long as you remain in Canada and are waiting for your documents. Currently, IRCC processing times are delayed.

If you leave or have left Canada: As travel restrictions are lifted and you are able to return to your studies at Brescia, you need a valid study permit and a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Immigration Scams & Fraud

Beware that scams have gone up during COVID-19 and being knowledgeable is key! You might be seeing more and more scams that look like they are emails coming from Immigration Canada. If you received such an email and are not sure if it is valid, you may contact Lissette Ochoa. REMEMBER: The most trusted source of immigration information is the IRCC website and the Government of Canada strongly encourages you to keep reading it for the latest updates.

To learn more about the kinds of scams that currently exist so you can keep yourself informed and protected, visit: The Little Black Book of Scams (Competition Bureau of Canada).

Online Courses Won’t Affect Your PGWPP Eligibility

If your courses this fall are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

Applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you are interested in applying for a social insurance number in order to work in Canada after the pandemic has settled, please be aware that the Government of Canada has asked individuals to hold off on applying if it is not urgent. For the most updated information, go here.

Changes to Work Restrictions

The Canadian government has temporarily removed the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session. This applies to you if you are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

UHIP Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

You should first do a self-assessment following the Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines and if you then need to visit an assessment centre for testing, you should take a paper copy of your UHIP card and a copy of a claim form with you.