IMMIGRATION, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on Friday, in order to support the growth in study permit applications, announced the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which is available to students applying for a study permit from China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Students from those countries who demonstrate upfront that they have the financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada will benefit from faster processing times.
Similar programs have been in place in these four countries for a few years. IRCC said they are aligning them together into one program to ensure consistency.
IRCC said they 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.
To qualify for SDS, applicants need to meet additional requirements, in particular language levels that are stricter than regular study permit requirements. Students who do not have all of the additional information required for SDS can apply through the regular study permit application process, either online or at a Visa Application Centre.
The SDS complements the Express Entry system as these students will be well placed to continue on the path to permanent residence and Canadian citizenship after completing their studies in Canada, if they wish to.
IRCC said they are committed to finding ways to improve their International Student Program by making their services faster, easier and more accessible. The success of the SDS program will be evaluated with the intention to expand the program in 2019.
Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said: “IRCC recognizes 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.”
To learn more about SDS, visit the website.
Students applying for SDS must first be accepted at a Canadian learning institution that is designated to host international students. In addition, they must satisfy key criteria, such as submitting proof upfront of:
- tuition payment for the first year of study at a designated learning institution in Canada,
- purchase of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000,
- completion of an upfront medical examination,
- a 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.