Canada Welcomes Pakistan to Fast-Track Student Visa Program

Sign showing direction of Canada and Pakistan

The Government of Canada has officially expanded its popular Student Direct Stream (SDS) service to Pakistan, which will allow students to have their study permit applications processed in as little as three weeks.

Pakistan is now the fifth country able to send applications through SDS. Students from China, India, Philippines, and Vietnam have been part of the service since it launched in 2018.

According to Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen, the Pakistan expansion stems from the Canadian government’s goal of attracting students from a more diverse range of countries.

“Canada’s diverse, welcoming society, high-quality educational institutions and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice from around the world,” said Hussen in a statement on the Government of Canada website. “By expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we’re enhancing the tremendous cultural, social and economic benefits that international students provide.”

Pakistan Supports Decision

Canadian immigration paperwork

Students who apply for their visa under SDS enjoy much quicker processing times but must meet stricter requirements. These include:

  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000
  • Meeting language test requirements in English or French
  • Proof of paid tuition fees for first year of study

SDS is a way for qualified international students to study in Canada and gain a post-graduation work permit. According to the Government of Canada, nearly 54,000 former students transitioned to permanent residence in 2018 – an all-time high.

Study permit growth for Pakistani students has been slow the past few years, with only a little over 2,000 new permits granted in 2018. With SDS now in effect for the remainder of 2019, it will be interesting to see if Canada attracts a record number of Pakistani international students this year.


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