An application for a Post-graduation work permit of three years duration is available to those foreign nationals who study at an appropriate school in a program of at least two years duration. One question that arises is whether the duration of the minimum two years of study can be interrupted. Such an interruption may occur if a person studies for perhaps one year, leaves Canada due to an emergency and returns after more than one semester to study at a different course.

The policy in the above scenario is not helpful. Said policy requires full time studies in Canada ‘continuously’. The only exception to the requirement to continuously study is when a person is in her final semester of studies and has met the requirements to graduate in the studies pursued.

The only other exception to study permit holder having a gap in studies and being eligible for a Post Graduation Work permit is where a study permit holder obtained a one-year graduate degree or diploma from an appropriate school in Canada. If two years prior to obtaining said one-year graduate level degree or diploma, the student had obtained a degree or diploma within the past two years, then a three year post graduation work permit may be possible.

Restoration within 90 days of losing a study permit is possible if the person holding the lapsed study permit continued to meet the requirements under which the person was allowed to enter and stay in Canada, as well as meeting all the conditions imposed on the study permit.

Immigration Regulations amended June 1, 2014 reinforce the requirement to be “actively pursuing” studies while in Canada and while possessing a study permit. Thus the possibility of losing a study permit is possible if an immigration officer discovers that a student has not registered or attended classes for extended periods of time, or arguably, has failed to acquire a passing grade in a certain number of courses. Such a lack of attendance and/or failure to pass has been associated with study permit holders who are not genuine students, but rather, persons who used a study permit as a way to work in Canada illegally.

If you’ve acquired a gap in studies it’s a good idea to get legal advice about whether the gap may make you ineligible to either renew your study visa, or to obtain a Post Graduation Study Permit.

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