Canada Makes Huge Changes to help International Students

To help international students to pursue their education in Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has just announced several major changes to fast track their study permit applications.

It is estimated that before the Covid pandemic, Canada hosted over 640,000 international students, a number that has significantly reduced due to travel restrictions. The Canadian Government seeks to attract them to the country as they offer significant social and economic benefits.

These are the anticipated changes that have been announced by the IRCC:

  • The permits of students who have submitted a completed application online will be prioritised and processed as soon as possible
  • A temporary 2-stage study permit process has been introduced for international students who cannot yet submit a completed study permit application, but want to begin their Canadian educational program online. Students who wish to go down this path should submit their study permit application by September 15, 2020 in order to begin their program this fall.
  • IRCC is also enabling students to begin their Canadian studies online while they are still abroad. The period of online study will also count towards their eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). They are required to have submitted a study permit application and should ensure that at least 50 per cent of the program is completed in Canada.

Those who have already submitted a completed study permit application (e.g., prior to the start of the pandemic in March) could possibly expect IRCC to process the application in time for the September 2020 academic year.

Why is IRCC helping international students?

The IRCC is rolling out these measures so that students can begin their programs in time for the fall 2020 academic year. Due to the unprecedented coronavirus situation worldwide, international students are facing a lot of uncertainty about the future of their education in Canada. While the pandemic has impacted IRCC’s ability to process study permits, these new changes will help students begin their programs online this fall.

Benefits to international students

International students can commence their Canadian education online, enabling them to stay safe and study from the comfort of their own homes. Students who wish to begin their Canadian studies this fall will receive full support from IRCC in the processing of their study permit at the earliest. Even in the event that the student is unable to submit a completed study permit application, IRCC will pre-approve them if they meet the necessary conditions.

Getting a pre-approval for a study permit

Students who pass the first stage can get an approval-in-principle from IRCC.

Basically, this two-stage assessment process will be applicable to applicants at all levels of study whose program is starting in the fall semester or earlier. They should submit a study permit application online on or before September 15, 2020.

During the first stage, officers will assess:

  • Letter of acceptance
  • Proof of funds
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (for those destined for a learning institution in Quebec)
  • Assurance that the applicant is a bona fide student who will leave Canada when they no longer have legal temporary or permanent status
  • If the student has any family ties to Canada

Before a final decision is made, officers will review the following:

  • Immigration medical examination
  • Biometrics
  • Security-Police certificates

Once they have received the required final approval for their study permit, and upon resumption of international travel, students will be able to travel to Canada.

Two way Benefits

This is a win-win situation for both the students and for Canada.

Students get the advantage of studying in one of the most advanced countries and receiving an excellent standard of education that is accepted anywhere in the world. Canada is one of the world’s most open and diverse countries, and you can get a globally accepted degree at a much lower cost than an equivalent degree in the USA or UK. Students can work while they study and this can help them support their living expenses in Canada and also save for the future.

On successful completion of their education, they will be able to get a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) to work in Canada for a period of up to three years. During this time, they can gain valuable professional work experience that will hold them in good stead when they apply for permanent residence and eventually citizenship. There are many pathways such as Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program and so on for those looking to obtain PR in Canada.

Statistics from IRCC show that almost 60,000 former international students become immigrants each year. These students add to the cultural melting pot that is Canada and enrich Canadian society, adding to its diversity with their own rich experiences and backgrounds. Overseas students contribute $22 billion annually to the economy, and this helps to support 170,000 Canadian jobs.

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