The students graduated from a 12-month long International Business Management course, after which they would have been eligible for a 1-year work permit.
However, at the end of the IBM course, they attended an additional four-month Freight Forwarding Logistics course.
“We need very clear guidelines on who is eligible and who is not”
When they applied for the work permit at the end of the additional course, they were told they had missed the 90-day deadline for application, immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri told The PIE News. But other students have obtained their post-study work permit after following the two programs, he added.
“The college markets the [FFL program] as an extension of the IBM program –many students applied and they received their post-study work permit, but recently IRCC has appeared to consider these two programs as separate,” he said.
“What IRCC says is that they should have applied for their permit at the conclusion of the first program and because they didn’t, they missed the 90-day period to apply.”
Kadri added that although he has “tremendous confidence” the situation will be solved, it signals a problem with the application of PSW guidelines.
“We need very clear guidelines on who is eligible and who is not, because there isn’t discretion here, if a student meets the requirements, they are entitled to these work permits,” he explained.
But an industry source who wished to remain anonymous told The PIE that the confusion arose from the optional add-on semester.
Students can apply for a 1-year work permit after studying for an academic year (two 4-month terms) or a three year work permit after 2 years (4 terms), they explained.
“By splitting the 4 terms of study into two programs and making them look like 1.5 years instead of 1 or 2 years, [St Clair College] opened a door for misinterpretation by immigration officers,” they said.
Immigration consultant Dave Sage said the situation calls for clearer policies. He added that this is a warning sign for schools offering PSW-eligible programs, “a highly coveted product on the road to immigration,” that they should ensure guidelines are closely followed in order to protect the rights of their students.
St. Clair College did not respond to The PIE News‘ request for comment on this story.
Source: Claudia Civinini / The Pie News