Delayed Canadian study permit for Fall 2022 students
International students report months-long delay in approvals, halting their academic plans with no certainty of imminent entry. Source: Dave Chan/AFP

Half a year. Seven months. Nine months. The numbers keep adding up, but the patience of international students are stretched thin. A life-changing educational journey might await those keen on entering universities in the True North. Getting a Canadian study permit approved in time, however, might seem impossible with the current waiting time. 

In its eagerness to realise the ambitious Immigration Levels Plan 2022-24, Canada has accrued a record-high immigration application backlog in the last few months. The latest data released on June 15, 2022 on CIC News mentioned that numbers have swelled to 2.4 million, according to an updated report acquired from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

As of June 6, 2022, the total application received for new Canadian study permits stands at 173,353, while extensions are currently numbered at 35,492 — which accounts for approximately 14% of the total 1.5 million in temporary residence application backlogs, CIC News reports. 

The surging numbers are to be expected, since this is the peak application time for visitors who are keen on visiting the country in the summer. It’s also when a large pool of new study permit applicants begins pouring in from those who are about to start university in Fall 2022.

Delayed Canadian study permit for Fall 2022 students

Immigration backlog numbers continue to climb as temporary resident application soars during the summer. Source: CIC News

Canadian study permit approvals: Unbearable wait for students in limbo

While pre-pandemic processing times would’ve only required a few weeks for approval, current Canada-bound students are less certain about being greenlighted for entry in time for their classes.

According to IRCC, the current standard processing time for a study permit applied outside of Canada is 12 weeks, but students from abroad have reported wait times of up to nine months. 

“Every year thousands of students apply to Canada from different countries. Students from Bangladesh are no different; they also apply in the hope of getting their study permit approved and studying in Canada. But it is taking around 5 (or more) months for processing,” Prospective Bangladeshi Students in Canadian Universities (PBCSU), an online non-profit and non-political discussion platform for incoming Bangladeshi students to Canada, wrote in a Twitter post.

“Nine months and @CanadaInIndia @CitImmCanFR [are] still processing my study permit application. Sorry but Canada isn’t really as welcoming as they portray it to be. Can you kindly look into this? @SeanFraserMP,” he tweeted.

Afzal is one of many students from abroad who have commenced their Canadian studies online, but are now in limbo over their student status since on-campus instructions resumed. 

In May 2022, CBC News ran a similar story of other Indian students enrolled in Canadian universities who are still stuck in their home countries, with no updates on decisions in sight.

“We are in a dilemma. What we can do in this situation, we can’t register ourselves for other courses here also, and we cannot focus [on] our personal life as well as [our] career life,” Punjab-based student Ravneet Kaur told the news portal. 

Sidh Sharma, another student based in New Delhi, echoed Kaur’s frustrations: “I never thought I’d waste so much time just to reach Canada. It’s been so long, it’s been six months, and I feel sometimes like it’s a complete waste.”

Sharma is a registered business marketing student at St. Clair College in Windsor since November 2021, and took one semester of lessons online. His studies are currently on hold when the college resumed in-person from the second semester onwards.

Elsewhere, African students also expressed dismay over their study visas that have yet to arrive, with the added challenge of high rejection rates.