Canada has added seven new countries to its international student fast-track programme.
The countries are:
- Costa Rica
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Antigua and Barbuda
The Student Direct Stream (SDS) allows students who want to study at a Canadian authorised learning institution to get their study permits faster (DLI).
A Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a DLI is required for potential overseas students to study in Canada.
DLIs are Canadian universities, colleges, and other post-secondary educational institutions that have been granted government permission to accept international students. After receiving a LOA, an applicant must apply for a study permit with the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The goal of a study permit is to allow someone to come to Canada to further their studies.
The time it takes to get a study permit varies by nation, however it can take many months. The SDS has the advantage of allowing eligible participants to have their study permit application completed by IRCC in as little as 20 calendar days.
The SDS was first offered to students from India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam in 2018. Pakistan, Senegal, and Morocco were added to the programme in 2019.
Those from the 14 countries listed above who desire to apply for a study permit under the SDS must meet the following requirements:
- They must have received a score of at least 6.0 on each skill on the IELTS (either IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training): Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.
- On the Test d’Evaluation de Français, Francophone candidates must score a 7 in each skill on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).
- Proof of a $10,000 Canadian Guaranteed Investment Certificate: This must come from a Canadian financial institution that qualifies.
- Proof of payment of the candidate’s first year’s tuition in full
- Acceptance letter from a recognised learning institution in Canada
- The most recent academic transcript
- Proof of a pre-employment medical examination:
Applicants who have lived or travelled for six months in designated countries or territories and/or whose field of study requires an upfront medical exam must meet this criteria.
In 2019, Canada welcomed a record 642,000 international students before the coronavirus epidemic. India, China, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, and Morocco are SDS participants in the top 15 source nations.
Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, among today’s SDS additions, are likely to have the greatest influence on international student enrollment in Canada. Over the last two decades, the number of Brazilian students in Canada has nearly ten-folded, while the number of Colombian students has nearly quadrupled. Since 2000, Peru’s student population has grown fivefold.
The SDS is useful to overseas students since it increases the likelihood that their study permit application will be accepted and in a timely manner. The SDS is advantageous to IRCC and DLIs because it provides greater assurance that candidates are truly interested in pursuing education in Canada, rather than utilising education as a way to enter Canada for other reasons (e.g., to enter the Canadian labour market).