In today’s blog update, We will discuss increased transparency and cooperation between IRCC, the provinces and assigned learning institutions.
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reports a notable spike in demand for study permits from international students. Per ICEF Monitor, the numbers continue to rise as restrictions implemented due to the pandemic have been eased worldwide, and students are returning to Canada to start or complete their post-secondary education.
The rise in applications for study permits was a topic of conversation at a recent virtual symposium by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE). Officials from IRCC were present to discuss the bulk of applications they have received as students are moving away from online programs and returning to classrooms in Canada.
Cynthia Ralickas, a director for IRCC, stated that while COVID impacted the immigration programs, they are seeing a solid recovery. Recently study permit figures have exceeded the pre-pandemic levels, with over 500,000 study permits being issued in 2021 and over 600,000 study permits being active in Canada at the end of 2021.
Per data, the first four months of 2022 saw most applications filed from India, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Colombia. India and the Philippines make up two of the largest diasporas of immigrants in Canada.
Canada is known for being a sought-after place to study for international students. The most recent report on international students by CBIE says that Canada’s reputation for safety and opportunities for stability is a major deciding factor in where students from other countries choose to study.
Processing Backlog For Study Permits:
In 2021, IRCC reported a 56% increase in study permit applications over 2020 as well as receiving 175,000 applications in the first quarter of 2022 alone. This has resulted in long processing times for study permit applications.
But, ICEF Monitor recently reported IRCC data that shows a total of 621,565 study permits were held by international students attending programs of at least six months’ duration in 2021, which is still less than pre-pandemic levels.
As of July 17, nearly 200,000 people were waiting for their initial study permit application to be processed. According to the IRCC processing time tool, study permits for applicants who are abroad take 12 weeks on average to process if they are not applying for the Student Direct Stream.
To deal with processing times and improve immigration policy, a report by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has been introduced to the House of Commons in Ottawa that lists 35 key recommendations.
Broadening The Student Direct Stream:
Among these suggestions is for IRCC to review and expand the Student Direct Stream, which can act as a speedy process for candidates who are legal residents of one of twenty eligible countries.
Those qualified for the Student Direct Stream may get their permit in as little as 20 days. The report urges IRCC to broaden the list of qualified countries and review the threshold to make it fair for all. The report especially suggests including West African countries on the list of eligible countries.
More Openness And Greater Collaboration:
Furthermore, the recommendations call for more openness in showing the criteria IRCC uses when selecting students and permitting more adaptability for the evidence used to establish that an applicant meets the financial criteria.
The report also recommended that there should be more collaboration between IRCC, the provinces and assigned learning institutions to regulate recruiters who travel and hire from abroad and to ensure that they are providing prospective students with information on how to spot fraud and scams.
Cynthia Ralickas stated that IRCC takes these suggestions seriously. When reports like that are presented in Parliament, the government has a responsibility to respond, contemplate each of the recommendations and think about how each one is applicable to the work being done and the directions being taken within the department.
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