As Omicron raises its head, Canada student visa applications continue to pile up


As the pandemic rages on, there is no end to the increase in the number of student visas in the Punjab. There has recently been a temporary increase in the number of student visas granted by Canada, but the Omicron threat has turned the tide. And it is the students in the non-SDS (Student Direct Stream) category who suffer the most because the number of these approvals has been greatly reduced.

There are two categories in which students can apply to study in Canada, including SDS (Student Direct Stream) and non-SDS. SDS was introduced in 2018 because previously these students applied through the Student Partnership Program (SPP). Non-SDS is a general visa application category that students can also apply for.

Several education consultants dealing with study visas in Canada said the rate of authorization of non-SDS visas before the pandemic was high.

In SDS, four conditions must be met by students, including IELTS with a minimum of 6 strips in all test categories, a letter of offer from the Designated Learning Institute (DLI) falling under the list of SDS colleges, a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) to cover the cost of living and the prepayment of one year fees.

In the non-SDS category, students with 5.5 bands in any of the four spheres but overall 6 bands can apply and they must also show sufficient funds in their accounts for their living expenses for one year instead of file the same.

“Due to the lockdowns there was a huge wait to clear visa applications from students, who applied in SDS and non-SDS categories, and from India itself, it is 3 to 3 , 5 lakh requests during these two years of pandemic. Canada now prefers the SDS category first due to which non-SDS applicants face massive rejection, ”said Hardeep Singh, Harnidh Overseas Pathway Education, consultant, adding that since 2018 when the number of colleges that could issue study permits to students are gone. from 47 to around 500, the number of requests has also multiplied.

“With the introduction of SDS, the number of requests is now increasing. But due to Covid restrictions, Canada only considers those who have achieved high bands in the IELTS and are applying in the SDS category, ”he said.
Narpat Singh Babbar of Jupiter Academy, who is a Canadian education consultant, said that previously, if they used to apply 10 applications in the non-SDS category, 9 had a nod, but now c is the reverse.

He also informed that 35-50% of the total number of students appearing for IELTS in Punjab clear the IELTS with six bands and more on the first attempt and the rest take the IELTS repeat test or prefer to apply in the non-SDS category. if their overall score in 6 bands including 5.5 bands in one of the four spheres.

“This means that around 50-60% of students still apply in the non-SDS category to study in Canada, although they have options for other places like the UK. But the majority of these students prefer Canada just because of Canada’s good permanent residency (PR) programs, ”he said.

“When the applications in the non-SDS category are high, the visa refusal rate would be high in this category as well,” Babbar said.

He informed that there are several SDS colleges that also accept students in the non-SDS category, while most students feel that they cannot apply for the SDS listed colleges.

He added that there are several locations and Canadian government programs under which students applying under non-SDS can benefit.

“There are locations that the Canadian government wants to develop under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program (RNPI) and skilled workers can apply here by meeting the required criteria. ”


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