Immigration Corner | Conditions of a study permit
Dear Miss Powell,
I am an international student who started studying in Canada two years ago and I’m having a difficult time with finances as my mother died in November. Just dealing with the funeral and all the stress has taken a toll on me. To make it worse, I couldn’t find the school fee for January and so I applied to take some time off from school. I am thinking that I will work full time and save some money so that I can go back to school in September and just get my head together. Do I need to apply to the government for this leave as well? What application should I submit? Thanks for your help.
I am sorry to hear of the loss of your mother and that you are having a difficult time in Canada. Have you spoken to the counsellors at the school? Most schools have guidance counsellors who can assist you with emotional and assist you with getting medical support. They may even have information about grants for international students.
Study Permit Conditions
While I understand your situation, you should know that when you are granted a study permit there are certain conditions that you must meet during the period of time you are granted a study permit.
One of the conditions is that you must be ready and able to show that you are actively pursuing your studies during the time that you are granted a study permit. This means that you will need to be enrolled in full-time or part-time studies during the school term, based on the original terms of your permit. Another condition is that you are required to maintain good grades and able to prove that you are advancing in your studies. These are just some of the main conditions of your study permit. Other conditions are stated on the permit itself or can be found on the government’s website.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can randomly check if they have proof that you are not meeting the required conditions at any time. They could ask you for official proof from your school, of the status of your enrolment. In your case, they could ask the reason for your leave of absence, the exact date you stopped, copies of your transcripts, medical report, copy of your mother’s death certificate and references, to name a few examples.
If you fail to adhere to the conditions, this could negatively affect your status in Canada and any future application that you may submit. In fact, if you are unable to satisfy these conditions, then IRCC could revoke your study permit and ask you to return to your home country.
If you are asked to return home, you may need to wait a minimum of six months before you can apply for a new study permit, visitor visa or work permit to Canada. You may even need to apply for an authorisation to return to Canada before you can submit any other application to return to Canada.
In your case, you appear to have a valid reason to seek authorised leave from your studies. Therefore, you may take a leave from your studies up to a maximum of 150 days or approximately five months. You will not be penalised if you take this time off. Also, you are not required to notify IRCC if you are taking this time off, provided that you have an official letter from your school authorising the leave and you do not exceed the 150 days.
However, you must note that you are not permitted to work in Canada, on or off campus, during an authorised leave from your study programme. That does not prevent you from returning to your home country to work during that time. I recommend that you consult with a with an immigration lawyer to guide you further.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practise are in immigration, commercial and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration Call 613.695.8777/ 876.922.4092