Destitute Students Work Permit
Destitute Students Work Permit

Destitute Students Work Permit for international students facing financial hardships while completing their studies.

Canada is the country of choice for more than 600,000 international students at all education levels. A robust education system, the potential to settle permanently through a linear immigration system and professional opportunities galore are some of the contributing factors for the same. Under Section R220 of Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), potential study permit holders are expected to have sufficient funds to meet their tuition and living expenses without working in Canada. In addition, international students enrolled in an eligible program at an eligible Designated Learning Institute (DLI) can work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours per week.

But what if some things don’t go as planned? What if, for circumstances beyond his/her control, an international student cannot afford the cost of studies or living expenses in Canada?


Defining Destitute Student

A Destitute student is a student with a study permit in Canada who, due to significant and unforeseeable circumstances beyond one’s or one’s financial sponsor’s control, finds oneself unable to meet the cost of living and/or tuition expenses in Canada.

The state of destitution is determined on a case-to-case basis by IRCC’s processing officer, therefore it is imperative to provide tangible evidence of loss of financial support was outside the control of the study permit holder and/or one’s financial sponsor.

Certain examples of these significant circumstances could include but are not limited to:

  • War,
  • Upheaval or the collapse of the banking system in their home country,
  • Demise or severe illness resulting in loss of income for the sponsor,
  • Pandemic outbreak (COVID-19),
  • Loss of income in event of a natural disaster, etc


What can a Destitute Student do?

Section 208(A) of the IRPR (LMIA exemption code H81) provides international students facing “destitution” an opportunity to apply for a Destitute Students Work Permit – Destitute Open Work Permit (OWP) and potentially be able to work full-time for ANY employer in Canada to cover such difficult financial periods.

Our recommendation is to escalate the concern to your institute first while you are on the rolls of the institute. Institutes may offer certain leeway and/or bursaries to help you get through. However, depending on your situation, applying for an OWP may be the only resort.

The length of this OWP may vary depending on individual circumstances, although it may not exceed the expiry date of your study permit or the end of the current semester or term of study.

Closing thoughts

  • Students must continue to meet the conditions of their study permit while applying for, holding and working with the OWP (remain enrolled in a DLI and actively pursue their studies).
  • Subsection 299(1)(d) of the IRPR exempts eligible applicants from application fees under this kind of an OWP, although the application package has to include the necessary application forms accompanied with all supporting documents and explanation validating your situation warranting a Destitute Student OWP.


Schedule your (free) initial appointment today by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. You may also reach us at +1 (877) 683-7222 (SAAB) or write to us at



For help with your PGP Application contact #SAABimmigration today.

Schedule your (free) initial appointment today by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. You may also reach us at +1 (877) 683-7222 (SAAB) or write to us at

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