Canada: According to Canadian immigration authority, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), students from India and three other Asian countries will get faster visas to study in Canada as it has introduced major changes in visa procedures to reduce the processing time. The Canadian move comes at a time when the UK's government has decided to exclude Indian students from easier visa norms.
IRCC, in a statement which was on June second week, said that the agency is making great strides in promoting Canada as a destination of choice for international students seeking a quality education by finding efficient ways to process applications.
According to official figures, over 100,000 Indian students study in Canada and education is a key area of collaboration between the two countries, reports Press Trust of India.
To support the growth in study permit applications, IRCC announced the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which is available to students applying for a study permit from China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Students from these four countries who demonstrate upfront that they have the financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada will benefit from faster processing times, said the statement.
IRCC also said similar programs have been in place in these 4 countries for a few years.
"We are aligning them together into 1 program to ensure consistency," the statement said. IRCC is also working on expanding SDS to Africa and are looking at options in Kenya and Senegal.
"Expansion to Senegal would be in line with the department's focus to attract more French-speaking students to Canada," added the statement from the immigration authority.
To qualify for SDS, applicants need to meet additional requirements, in particular language levels that are stricter than regular study permit requirements. Students who do not have all of the additional information required for SDS can apply through the regular study permit application process, either online or at a Visa Application Centre.
The SDS complements the Express Entry system as these students will be well placed to continue on the path to permanent residence and Canadian citizenship after completing their studies in Canada, if they wish to.
The success of the SDS program will be evaluated with the intention to expand the program in 2019.
According to PTI, the new program will cut down the processing time for study permits (which are student visas) to within 45 days from within 60 days.
An MOU between India and Canada signed in June 2010 covers areas like student and faculty exchange, research and curriculum development and facilitate mutual recognition of educational qualifications.
(Indebted to various sources)