The IRCC’s Student Direct Stream is being expanded once more. Morocco and Senegal are being added to the list of countries whose residents can fast-track their applications to study at a designated, post-secondary learning institution in Canada. The changes will take place as of September 9, 2019 when Morocco and Senegal will be officially added to the list of countries whose residents qualify for SDS. This is an important step in building Canada’s reputation as a destination for high-skilled immigrants. Here’s why.
What do Canadian employers want in a foreign skilled worker? The ability to do the job of course. But to become a first-rate, productive worker in Canada you need a few additional skills and experience, namely:
- The ability to work and communicate effectively in English and/or French. That’s why Express Entry has language requirements and why it is recommended you study and upgrade your language skills before applying to work in Canada.
- An understanding of Canadian business norms and procedures, something which is really about understanding how Canadian society functions. Subtle or even noticeable differences in how business is done in places like India or Nigeria, for example, compared to Canada means there is usually an adaption period for new workers in Canada.
What’s a great way to gain experience in both these areas? Attend a Canadian university, college, or technical school/institution, of course. You gain technical/specialized knowledge in your field of study and your ability to work and communicate in English and/or French improves substantially as well. And you start the process of familiarizing yourself with Canadian society. But not only that, you might also be eligible to work during your studies, hopefully in an area related to your degree or diploma or certificate.
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC), for example, is a stream that gives international students the opportunity to stay in Canada after their studies are finished and work full time. So, getting a work permit after your studies are done is often a good possibility for international students. That means you are well on your way to qualifying for permanent resident status in Canada. And even if you decide to return home or work elsewhere, as a graduate of a Canadian post-secondary institution you will be in much better shape than your competitors who remained in their home countries. Either way, it’s a win-win proposition for you.
As Minister Hussen stated:
In expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we’re enhancing the tremendous cultural, social and economic benefits that international students provide.
It is no accident that the two new countries, Morocco and Senegal are francophone nations. Express Entry has been rewarding additional points to workers with French-language abilities and this latest move is a further step by the government in the pursuit of their Francophone Immigration Strategy. Announced in Calgary in March of 2019, the program will provide funds to 14 communities around Canada to help them preserve and expand their French-speaking communities by providing programs to help French-speaking immigrants settle and feel welcome in those locations.
In addition, according to the OECD, Canada has one of the highest percentages of highly educated immigrants of any OECD nation. 60% of newcomers to Canada are considered highly educated. We are truly attracting the best and brightest from around the world.
In light of this, Canada’s IRCC brought out the Student Direct Stream (SDS) in 2018 for residents of China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Pakistan was added in 2019.
SDS streamlines the application process for a study permit for an international student who:
- Gives biometrics as soon as possible
- Is a legal resident of:
- The Philippines
- Morocco, or
- Has an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution
- Has proof of payment of first year of tuition fees at their institution
- Is living outside of Canada when they apply
- Has a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) at a financial institution in Canada worth at least CAD 10,000
- Has a CAQ (certificate of acceptance in Quebec) from Quebec’s immigration ministry, if and only if you are planning to study in Quebec
- Gets a medical exam before applying
- Gets a police certificate before applying
- Have your most recent secondary or post-secondary transcripts
- IELTS language test results of at least 6.0 in all 4 skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening)
- TEF (French) scores equivalent to Canadian Languages Benchmark (CLB) levels of 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking, listening)
- Provides any other documents your visa office requires.
The processing time for your SDS application is generally around 3 weeks, giving successful applicants the flexibility they may need to start their studies in Canada as soon as possible.
Please note that even if you are a citizen of one of the countries listed above, if you are NOT a legal resident of these countries, you are NOT eligible for SDS. You may apply, however, through the regular study permit process.
If you have a spouse/partner and any dependent children, you may be able to get faster processing of their:
- Visitor visas
- Study visas
- Work visas.
Should you wish to apply for them.
How to apply for SDS
Step 1: Download the Application
Go here to download the instruction guide. Remember this is an online application process. You cannot apply on paper.
Step 2: Get Access to a Scanner or Digital Camera
Make sure you have access to a scanner or an digital camera in order to make electronic copies of all the documents listed in your instruction guide.
Step 3: Ensure you have a Credit Card
You will need a valid debit or credit card to pay your fees. You cannot pay by any other means.
Step 4: Get Your Biometrics
Pay your biometrics fee before you apply and send proof of payment with your application. You will then be given a biometrics instruction letter telling you where and when to go to give biometrics.
Step 5: Get Your Country-Specific Instructions
Go to the drop-down menu at the bottom of this page and select from the list of eligible countries, choosing the one you are a legal resident of (not necessarily a citizen of). Then click on the button that says “Continue” to get instructions on how to proceed. Please note that Morocco and Senegal have not yet been added to this list but soon will be.
For help with the application process please visit your nearest Visa Application Centre. Go here to find the nearest one to you.
After you apply
- You will receive a Letter of Introduction for Canadian immigration authorities when you arrive at your Port of Entry.
- You will also receive either:
- An electronic travel authorization (eTA), which is electronically linked to your passport or
- A visitor visa, in which case you will have to present your passport at the nearest visa office in order to have the visa attached to your passport.
- At your Port of Entry (generally the airport in Canada at which you arrive) the immigrations officer will examine your visa and any other documents you are required to bring that they deem necessary to inspect. If all is in order they will print and give you your study permit.
If you are refused:
- You will receive a letter giving the reasons for your refusal. For any questions, please contact the visa office that issued the refusal
- Remember to use the reasons you were refused as an action plan if you wish to try again in the future. You can always upgrade any skills that are lacking and are perhaps given as reasons for your refusal.
So in conclusion, it’s clear that international students are a priority stream for Canada’s immigration authorities. It’s almost certain that more countries will be added to the Student Direct Stream in the coming months and years, so stay tuned and keep checking back with us!