With students around the world clamoring to get answers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) hosted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit on July 18 to answer questions related to study in Canada. The session was opened to collect questions from international students planning to continue their studies in Canada, as well as, those currently completing their education in the country.
Government experts from the Immigration Guidance Branch were present at the session to answer questions about study permit eligibility, the application process, and working during (and after) studies. By the time the session closed, there were a total of 356 comments from Reddit users in Canada, plus more from outside the country. Given the public nature of the forum, the immigration experts advised users not to include any personal details and avoided addressing any specific case questions posed.
Main concerns: processing times and permanent residence
Two of the most recurrent concerns by users on the forum revolved around processing times of online study permit applications, and, secondly, the eligibility requirements to move from temporary status with a study permit to permanent residence in Canada.
Users concerned with longer than expected processing of their online study permit applications were reminded that processing times for study permit applications vary based on the country of origin and the applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, immigration experts warned that incomplete applications and other “complex cases”, for example, due to medical requirements often take longer than the standard processing times.
In particular users from India and Nigeria echoed concerns regarding processing times for online study permit applications. As recent statistics from the Canadian Bureau for International Education show, India and Nigeria have been among the fastest growing countries of origin for international students. Reports demonstrate that international students favour Canada for the work options available during and after studies, as well as, the ability to bring a spouse/common-law partner, and dependents. In addition, international students in Canada are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during the semester, and full-time hours during scheduled breaks.
Canada’s immigration policy allows spouses and common-law partners of international students to work on an open work permit during the entirety of the study-permit holder’s study period. Children accompanying a study-permit holder can attend school at the pre-school, primary and secondary levels without obtaining their own study permit. After graduation, an international student may obtain an open Post-Graduation Work Permit that is valid for up to three years, depending on the duration of studies. More and more international students appreciate the level of flexibility offered by Canada’s immigration policy to them, their spouses/common-law partner, or dependents during and after studies.
Several other users asked immigration experts about obtaining permanent resident status after graduation. According to experts on the forum, the Express Entry system is one of the best opportunities for international students to stay in Canada permanently. In 2016, 35 percent of Express Entry candidates who were granted an Invitation to Apply (ITA) were former international students in Canada. Additionally, provinces and territories — those not aligned with the Express Entry selection system — offer opportunities for international students under Provincial Nominee Programs, such as Alberta’s Employer-Driven Stream, and Manitoba’s Skilled Worker Immigration Stream.
With the federal government’s plan to attract more than 450,000 of international students by 2022, IRCC efforts such as hosting an AMA Reddit session show ways in which the federal government is working to make information more accessible to international students in Canada and abroad.
If you want to discover your options for studying in Canada, or staying in Canada after graduation, complete the free CanadaVisa Study Pathway Assessment Form today.
International students and post-graduate workers in Canada can join the CanadaVisa Study Hub for a chance to win a $500 scholarship. Members also get access to exclusive notifications, tools and resources to help maximize their time in Canada and pursue a pathway to permanent residence.
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