Will Canada's streamlined visa process benefit Asian students?
Low crime rates and a low cost of living are attracting eager international students in droves. Source: Shutterstock

Canada has announced it is streamlining its study permit allocation for those coming from China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines, allowing for faster and more consistent processing for incoming students.

The new Student Direct Stream (SDS) initiative will merge the individual visa processes for each country to ensure consistent and quicker treatment of visa requests and documentation, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

African students could also benefit from the scheme in coming years, thanks to plans to expand the SDS to countries like Kenya and Senegal, falling in line with Canada’s goal to attract more French language speakers to the country.

“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,” says the media release.


To be eligible for the SDS you must:

  • Have an offer to study at a Canadian institution
  • Have proof that you can cover payment for the first year of tuition
  • Have proof of purchase of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CA$10,000 (US$7,700)
  • Have an up-to-date medical examination certificate
  • Either: score six or above on the International English Language Testing System; score seven or higher on the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens for French courses; or have been a graduate from a Canadian-curriculum high school.

Canada is quickly becoming one of the most renowned destinations for international students. With good scholarship opportunities, impressive graduate prospects and world leading institutions, it’s no surprise almost 500,000 students chose Canada as their most desired study abroad location in 2017.

More and more students are choosing beautiful Canada as their study abroad destination. Source: Gabriel Santiago/Unsplash

While other higher education hotbeds including Australia and the US are limiting visas for Chinese students, Canada could make large strides towards becoming the biggest international student market thanks to this new scheme.

Chinese students currently represent 28 percent of the overseas students in Canada, while 67 percent of international students in Canada originally derive from Asia. Enrollments in Vietnam and India are up 89 percent and 63 percent between 2016 and 2017 respectively, putting them in a fruitful position to maintain momentum as Canada soars to new higher education heights.

International students already contribute CA$11.4 billion (US$8.7 billion) to the Canadian economy making it the third biggest export, according to the 2016 Economic Impact of International Education in Canada report.

As they join the front-runners of global higher education, their progressive visa allocation scheme could see them take a further squeeze of the CA$76.8 billion (US$59.1 billion) international students contribute to the US and Australian economy as well.

“IRCC recognizes the tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits that international students bring to Canada,” Ahmed Hussen, Minister of IRCC said in the release.

“We are committed to improving client service for all applicants, including students, as we continue to find new and efficient ways to reduce processing times.”

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