Canada has introduced a new programme to expedite visa processing for students from China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
To be eligible, students must be admitted to a public, post-secondary institution in Canada, possess strong language skills, and demonstrate the financial means to carry out their planned programme of study.
Students from China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines applying for full-time study in canada
at Canadian post-secondary institutions can now access a new, expedited student visa processing stream just announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The new stream is called the Student Direct Stream (SDS), and it is open to students from the four countries who meet certain language and financial criteria.
Under Canada’s regular visa processing stream, Chinese students wait on average four weeks for their visas to be processed, Filipino students six weeks, Indian students seven weeks, and Vietnamese students 17 weeks. These processing times will be reduced for students who qualify for the SDS.
Language ability and financial resources required
Not all Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, and Filipino students will be able to apply through SDS. Those who are eligible will have higher-than-average:
Language skills – an IELTS score of at least 6 for English-language studies or a Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens score of at least 7
A certain level of financial security, to be shown through a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000 from Scotiabank of Canada and proof of tuition payment for the first year of studies.
In addition, students applying under SDS will need to show proof of having been accepted into a full-time programme in a publicly funded Canadian higher education institution (i.e., universities, colleges, institutes or CÉGEP) and to undergo a medical examination before applying.
New system complements Canada’s Express Entry Immigration System
The Canadian government prioritises immigration seekers who stand the best chance of achieving success in Canada and contributing to the economy, a goal that it supports through its Express Entry system. This system is effectively a selection mechanism for prospective immigrants to Canada, and that mechanism places international students on a stronger footing to be considered for immigration.
Regular processing stream still open
Chinese, Filipino, Indian, and Vietnamese students applying to full-time post-secondary studies in Canada who can accommodate a longer processing time or who do not meet SDS criteria can still apply through the regular student processing stream. In addition, students from the four markets who are not living in their home country when applying to Canadian institutions are not eligible for the Student Direct Stream, and must apply through the regular visa processing stream.
Plan to extend to Africa
The Student Direct Stream is tailor-made for high-priority sending markets for Canada, and the plan is to extend the countries in which it is available. IRCC says, “We are also working on expanding SDS to Africa and are looking at options in Kenya and Senegal. Expansion to Senegal would be in line with the department’s focus to attract more French-speaking students to Canada.”
More evidence of Canada’s ambition to court the world’s top students
IRCC recognises the tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits that international students bring to Canada. We are committed to improving client service for all applicants, including students, as we continue to find new and efficient ways to reduce processing times.
After several years of greatly expanded recruiting by many Canadian colleges and universities – and national-level support for increasing international student numbers – half a million international students now study in Canada. As we reported recently, managed growth is one of the emerging themes in Canadian admissions.