Study Abroad: Canada

What do eased norms mean for Indian students

What do eased norms mean for Indian students

Representational image Istock

Ramananda SG

Studying abroad has always been a dream for many students, and across the globe, countries are adopting conducive policies to attract a diverse set of students. When it comes to popular study abroad destinations, Canada remains a most sought-after choice among many students.

In 2019, Canadian Government approved of 4 lakh students to study in the country out of which 1.39 lakh or 34.5% students were Indian.

Preferred destination

Canada has become a preferred destination for many Indian students mainly because of these reasons:

  • The quality of the Canadian education system
  • Post-study work options for students
  • Canada's reputation as a tolerant and non-discriminatory society
  • Canada's reputation as a safe country

This was followed by Chinese students who bagged 21% of the seats in the country.

Canada invited 3.55 lakh students to study in their country which was 13.8% higher than the last year's count.

In 2020, according to the immigration data the government issued 9,147 new study permits to Indian students between January and June 2020, the number which has been low due to the ongoing pandemic and subsequent lockdown across globe.

What reforms Canada has introduced for Indian students?

Reforming the immigration rules to make it more conducive for students not only helps the country’s economy and job market but also makes it more attractive for international students.

One such reform that has resulted conducive for Indian students aiming to study in Canada is the Study Direct Stream (SDS) program launched by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, which is helping Indian students applying to universities and colleges in the country with a faster and more streamlined visa processing.

Unlike the usual visa processing that might add up to 2-3 months, SDS allows students from India to avail their visa in 4-6 weeks, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. This makes the whole process very seamless and efficient for students as well as for the government.

Apart from this the Canadian government most recently has also announced major changes in study and work visa for fall 2020.

As per the announcement, international students will be able to enrol in online courses while they are in their home country and will still be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit after moving to Canada.

These changes have been implemented considering the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 and to ensure that students don’t defer their studies.

In normal circumstances online courses do not count toward the study requirement for a PGWP application.

However, considering the coronavirus-related travel interruptions around the world, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is now allowing international students to study online and still be eligible to apply for the work permit after graduation.

This reform will not only encourage more students to take up their studies but will also make Canada a more conducive study destination for students. 

How can students apply, what is the VISA process, both for SDS and Non SDS categories?

Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a newly launched Canada visa application process to streamline and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the visa application process.

To be able to apply for a study permit via SDS, students will have to fulfil certain conditions, such as:

  • Letter of Acceptance from the DLI institution.
  • Medical exam confirmation document copy
  • GIC of $10,000 proof
  • Proof of paid tuition fee (entire first year)
  • Education transcripts / Work experience documents
  • Visa form and visa receipt

On the other hand, if students are applying via the Non-SDS route, they need to have the following documents:

  • Letter of Acceptance from DLI institution
  • Medical exam confirmation document copy
  • Proof of first semester/ 6 months tuition fees payment
  • Proof of funds for living expenses and tuition fees
  • Education transcripts / Work experience documents
  • Visa form and visa reciept

Both the visa application process has different processing times, while SDS only accommodates online process, students applying through non-SDS route can submit their documents both online and offline. Visa processing through SDS is fast and students can get their visa within 20 days, considering they meet the eligibility criteria. However, non-SDA application might take up to 60 working days to process visa.

— The writer is VP, Sales & Marketing, Pearson India

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