Student Direct Stream Changes to Reduce Wait Times for International Students in Canada
In 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a new program to decrease processing times for international students applying for study permits. The program, known as the Student Direct Stream (SDS), gives students from China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines with the required financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada a more efficient application process. Less than a year after the program was first introduced, the IRCC will implement changes expected to lead to faster process times. However, students will now need to meet additional criteria in order to qualify.
Under the current Student Direct Stream model, students must meet the following criteria:
- Valid Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
- Tuition paid for one full year
- Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) work $10,000 CAD
- IELTS score of 6.0 or higher in each of the four bands for English, or TEF score of B2 (NCLC 7) or higher for French
Once the changes come into effect on April 30, 2019, the following additional criteria will come into effect:
- All applications must be filed online
- An immigration medical examination must be completed upfront (evidence must be provided in the application submission)
It is important to note that the countries in which SDS is currently available (India, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines) will not change under the new rules. However, as outlined in the program’s original 2018 announcement, the IRCC is working on expanding SDS to African nations such as Kenya and Senegal.
Once the change go into effect, it is estimated standard processing times for SDS cases will be reduced from 45 days to 20 days. The main reason for this significant drop is the mandatory e-App. The app is designed to expedite SDS cases and reduce intake volumes. If everything goes as planned, SDS cases will now be processed in a third of the time it takes non-SDS cases, which currently take an average of 60 days.
For more information on Student Direct Stream, visit the Government of Canada website.
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