Updated: Feb 25
Canadian Colleges and Universities attract thousands of students each year. Canada wants to draw in more international students as a way to diversify classrooms and increase the economic benefits they bring, which already amount to billions of dollars each year. The economic impacts of foreign students rival Canada's exports of auto parts, aircraft and lumber.
The international students and student visas have become such an integral part of the Canadian economy that the government has launched a fast processing program called the Student Direct Stream for citizens of certain countries with high volumes of student visa applicants which promises a decision in only 20 calendar days. The Student Direct Stream is currently for citizens and legal residents currently residing in of the following countries: China, India, the Philippines, Senegal, Morocco, Vietnam and Pakistan.
So what does this mean for the rest of the countries of the world with students interested in studying in Canada? Nothing, they still may apply and the processing of their application may take the same or slightly more time depending on the visa office and the time of application. Even citizens of the above-mentioned countries may not qualify for the Student Direct stream and may be processed in the regular student visa category.
The following are some of the qualifications that must be met for the 20 day speed of process:
1. a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (hereafter DLI)
2. be a legal resident living in one of the following countries: China, India, the Philippines, Senegal, Morocco, Vietnam and Pakistan
3. pay tuition fees for the first year and have proof
4. live outside of Canada at the time of application for your student visa
5. have a "Guaranteed Investment Certificate" (GIC) for $10,000
6. medical exam (if applicable)
7. police certificate (if applicable)
8. language test result with CLB 6 or higher in each language skill area (listening, speaking, reading and writing) on IELTS or CELPIP or French test TEF
9. have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion if you are planning to study in the province of Quebec
10. have your most recent secondary or post-secondary transcripts
Many potential students are not aware of the upfront financial and other commitments involved in order to initiate the process of obtaining a student visa to Canada. One can expect that they will be required to pass the admission requirements of the school which may include writing language tests. They will be required to pay application fees and/or part of tuition that will be non-refundable if the visa is denied. It is therefore paramount to access all eligibility factors upfront, to ensure the financial means are in place and that the individual is committed to completing the process.
However, once a person receives the desired visa, they can work in Canada part time up to 20 hours per week or full time during scheduled academic breaks. They may be eligible for a post graduate open work permit (eligibility depends on the education institution and program of study so we recommend exploring this question upfront) and ultimately will be in a position to pursue permanent residence once they secure a job offer. See our other post about the benefits of the Alberta provincial nominee program for international students.