May 13, 2019 – Canada’s visa application process means qualified study permit candidates from certain countries are being turned away on security grounds.
Critics say the security checks are so tough it has become almost impossible to obtain study in Canada visas for applicants from countries including Pakistan and Nigeria.
Figures from 2015 show a 32 per cent success rate for study permit applications from Pakistan, compared to 68 per cent in neighbouring India.
Canada’s immigration policy under the current federal government is geared towards attracting international students and encouraging them to stay after graduation.
But while universities and colleges are doing all they can to bring in more foreign students, many are discovering issues in the visa application process.
Many candidates have offers from colleges and universities in hand, but are unable to get the required visa.
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In the last few years, applications from Nigeria have seen an improved success rate, according to certain stakeholders, but those from Pakistan are still facing issues.
Canada Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says more Pakistani applications are being approved under the Liberal government.
He said that each application is considered on merit, regardless of where the candidate comes from.
Hussen says the government will soon announce plans to add Pakistan to the countries covered by the Student Direct Stream.
The SDS provides expedited processing for candidates from certain Asian countries where other criteria are met. It currently covers India, China, the Philippines and Vietnam.
How Do I Qualify for the Student Direct Stream?
The SDS is available to candidates living in China, India, Philippines or Vietnam wishing to study in Canada at a post-secondary designated learning institution.
Applicants must submit up front proof of:
- Tuition payment for the first year of study at a designated learning institution.
- Purchase of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of $10,000,
- Completion of an upfront medical examination,
- Qualifying score of at least 6 for English (IELTS), or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens score of 7 for French (TEF), or graduation from a Canadian-curriculum high school.
Hussen also advocates more communication between colleges and universities and visa officers, helping to understand why some applications are successful, and others are not.
New federal government figures show international student contribute $15.5 billion per year to the Canadian economy, supporting nearly 170,000 jobs in 2016.
At the end of 2018, there were 572,415 study permit holders in Canada. University enrolment alone increased by 15 per cent between 2017 and 2018, according to figures from Universities Canada.
Study Permit numbers have increased 180 per cent in the last decade, as successive governments have recognized the benefit to the Canadian economy of increasing international student levels.
A three-step process has been established in Canada targeting international students. First, they hold Study Permits while in full time education, second, they become eligible for a Post Graduation Work Permit, and third, they can use all the experience gathered to qualify for permanent residence.
It had made Canada one of the more attractive countries in the world for foreign students considering their study options.
International students are an important source of revenue for Canada’s schools, paying significantly higher tuition fees than their Canadian counterparts.
With Canadian education much cheaper than across the border in the U.S., Canada’s best universities are often seen as a pathway to a world class education without the dollar outlay required south of the border.
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