Toronto: Students from India and three other countries will get faster visas to study in Canada as it has introduced major changes in visa procedures to reduce the processing time, according to Canadian immigration authority.
According to official figures, over 100,000 Indian students study in Canada and education is a key area of collaboration between the two countries.
The Canadian move comes at a time when the UK’s government has decided to exclude Indian students from easier visa norms.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said it 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.
To support the growth in study permit applications, the IRCC announced the Student Direct Stream (SDS) under which students from China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines will benefit.
“Students from those countries who demonstrate upfront that they have the financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada will benefit from faster processing times,” the IRCC said in a statement.
“Similar programmes have been in place in these 4 countries for a few years. We are aligning them together into one programme to ensure consistency,” it said.
To qualify for the 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 the 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 IRCC said.
According to reports, 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.