IT used to be a 90-day, or two- to three-months’, wait to get a student visa for Canada. But thanks to a pilot program launched this month for Filipino applicants, student visa applications would now seem to fly.
Why is Canada the top choice of international students, particularly from Asia?
From 2006 to 2015, study permit applicants from the People’s Republic of China topped the list of international students seeking further and higher education in Canada.
India and South Korea brought up the second and third spots, respectively, in terms of the total number of students in Canada from 1996 to 2015. The Philippines was in 22nd place.
In 2014, international students contributed almost $11.4 billion to Canada’s economy, through tuition fees and other expenses of students and their visiting families, friends. This overall annual spending by international students translated to 122,700 Canadian jobs (complete story here- http://www.international.gc.ca/education/report-rapport/impact-2016/index.aspx?lang=eng)
In 2006 there were only 239,899 international students in Canada. In 2015, this almost doubled to 459,644. The accompanying table from the Canadian government website shows the top three student-sending countries and the Philippines.
Economic contribution of foreign students
In an October 2016 study commissioned by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Global Canada reported the “substantial…economic benefit of international students studying in Canada.”
In 2014, international students in Canada spent around $11.4 billion on tuition, accommodation, and discretionary spending, and created 122,700 jobs for Canadians.
In line with its policy of attracting more international students, Canada introduced a pilot project – Study Direct Stream (SDS) that seeks to improve the application procedures while safeguarding the integrity of the study program.
The Canadian visa-issuing posts in China issued the details of SDS in August 2016. The SDS then moved to India and now, the Philippines.
Study Direct Stream launched in Manila
The Canadian Embassy in Manila expects SDS to “speed up visa processing for full-time students attending universities and colleges in Canada.”
The SDS rogram is supported by Scotiabank, a leading Canadian financial institution. Scotiabank will provide eligible students with the opportunity to purchase a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), which will satisfy the financial statement requirements of the SDS program.
Whether applying through the standard processing or SDS, the student must submit a study plan, explaining the reason for the choice of the program with the authorized educational institution – and how completion of the academic program dovetails with his or her career plans.
How to qualify through SDS
The Canadian embassy checklist for students applying for a program under SDS sets the following eligibility criteria:
• Admission to a full-time program in a publicly-funded post-secondary institution such as universities, colleges, institutes or CÉGÉP;
• An IELTS score with a minimum band of 6 for each ability (listening, reading, writing and speaking) taken within past two years;
• Purchase of a special Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from Scotiabank of C$10,000 for a single applicant; additional C$4,000 for accompanying spouse and $3,000 for each accompanying dependent child to cover living expenses for the first year of stay in Canada;
• Proof of payment of the tuition fee for one (1) year; AND
• Upfront medical examination at least one week before submission of the application.
• Apply with the authorized visa application center.
Advantages of applying under SDS
The major advantages of applying under SDS are:
• Streamlined visa process for all SDS eligible institutions.
• Less financial documentation.
• Faster visa processing time.
International students are allowed to work part time (20 hours a week) and full time when school is off session. However, study permit applicants must not rely on this privilege (or being able to work) since inability to find employment could result in the student working more than studying.
The funds transferred to an authorized Canadian bank – in this case Scotiabank – ensure access to funds to the international student regardless of the financial ups and downs.
The Scotiabank Student GIC Program (SSGP) enables the student to “meet the requirements of the citizenship and Immigration Canada guidelines and provides access to funds to help pay for living expenses while studying in Canada.”
A study permit applicant may “purchase a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from Scotiabank for C$10,000. A GIC is an investment account that offers a guaranteed interest rate over a fixed period of time. Other features of the
• C$2,000 plus any accrued interest will be deposited into the student’s personal bank account upon arrival in Canada.
• Each month, for 12 months, the student receives a portion of the balance of the investment back, plus interest.
• Student can use these funds to help pay for living expenses while studying in Canada.
• After 12 months, the student would have received the C$10,000 investment back
• There is a C$200 fee for the SDS program.