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International Students In Turmoil With Visa Delays Close To Fall Semester

International students are facing visa delays because of Canadian immigration backlogs and are unsure if they’ll manage to go to Canada in time for the fall semester as the Canadian government is looking to see if they can prioritize applications for September.

Students, universities, immigration consultants and even the High Commission of India have voiced their concerns about delayed visas which have put many students’ studies at risk.

Per the Federal data, as of the end of July, 34 percent of pending international student visa applications were taking longer to process than the government standards.

According to a CEO of an academic services organization, she has never seen so many students waiting for visas only weeks before school is about to start.

She stated that if the government doesn’t process student’s visas in time, those students will likely have to put off their studies for up to a year.

She further added that some have already paid tuition, adding substantial financial stress to the already difficult task of moving to a new country and starting school.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated that the department started looking into the possibility of prioritizing students whose studies were due to begin in September.

He added that they are still trying to figure out whether it will jeopardize the efficiency of the overall effort, and they are trying to get as many people to Canada as possible.

Fraser said the Immigration Department is processing more study permits than ever before, and the massive increase in demand is causing the delays.

This year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has processed more than 360,000 study visas, a 17 per cent gain over the same period in 2021.

In a statement, the High Commission of India in Ottawa said it was talking to Canadian universities about what can be done to adjust the significant number of Indian international students who are still waiting for visas.

The high commission stated that universities have also contacted the immigration ministry with their concerns.

Some institutions will offer a remote option for students who cannot reach Canada at the start of the term because they have not yet been provided with a visa.

The high commission has asked the government to speed up its processing of Indian student visas.

Per an immigration critic, there doesn’t appear to be any reason for why some applications have been processed on time, and others haven’t.

She has heard from students stressed about whether they will be moving across the world to study in Canada in a few weeks.

September is just around the corner as the school year is going to start, and students don’t know what’s going on with their applications.

According to her, the fact that so many students will probably find out at the last minute is enough proof that the department doesn’t acknowledge the real-life experiences people are going through. They also have the pressure to find living quarters, get housing in place, and get familiar with the environment and how to get to and from school.

She added that everything from course selection to orientation is threatened, and the delays cause uncertainty for institutions as well.

Recently, a report by the House of Commons immigration committee shows processing times for student visas have grown considerably since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to government standards, the application should be processed in about two months, but between December 2020 and November 2021, the average wait time was 82 days.

Sean Fraser said he’s not worried about spoiling Canada’s reputation as a destination of choice for international students because Canada is having its best year ever, accepting a record number of students.

However, he acknowledged that the personal stories that you hear are the ones that stick with people. People remember how they’re made to feel when they don’t get permission to come to Canada in time to start their program.

He further stated that the government is working with schools to create contingencies for people who don’t get the paperwork on time, including online classes.

Fraser stated that Canada doesn’t want to lose out on its talent. We want to make it easier to come to Canada and fulfil this demand that we’re seeing, which this year is far beyond what we’ve seen before.

Fraser said he hopes that processing times for international student visas will return to government standards by the end of the year.

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