Canada Introduces SDS Program to Fast Track Student Visa Process
A dramatic rise in the number of Indian students applying to Canadian Student Partnership Program (SPP) colleges in the last few years has led to increased processing time for university applications. Earlier, while the turnaround time for receiving an acceptance letter from the university was two weeks, it now takes about six to eight weeks for the same. The growth in the number of Indian students selecting Canada as their preferred educational destination is directly linked to the UK’s announcement on the exclusion of Indian students as beneficiaries of faster visa norms. On the rebound, Canada received as many as 83,410 student applications in 2017; an escalation of 58 per cent over the previous years.
Considering that Indian students now make up the largest class of international students receiving Canadian study permits, surpassing even China, which topped the list in 2016, they received 26 per cent of the total study permits in 2017. The trend rose further between the months of January 2018 and April 2018, with more than 29,000 Indian students receiving study permits; as opposed to China recording a count of 17,000 permits.
To accommodate this influx, Canada, which is regarded as a prestigious educational destination, announced on June 8 this year, about the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program, a fast track system for visa processing. As part of the process, visas of students from India, China and Vietnam will be processed in 45 days as opposed to the older SPP process that took 60 days.
Students applying for SDS will be required to submit proof of the requisite financial resources and language proficiency in order to avail this opportunity. They need to fulfil requirements that include securing admission in a post-secondary institute; a minimum score band of 6.0 in each section (Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking) in IELTS, proof of tuition fee payment; and medical examination a week prior to the submission of the application. Aided by Scotiabank, a Canadian financial institution, the SDS also has a requirement of a $10,000 Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) offered by Scotiabank, which will cover the student’s living expenses for the first year.
While the SPP was introduced earlier to speed up the visa application process and reduce documentation, it could only be availed by students applying to 40 participating learning institutes. To overcome this drawback, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) devised SDS with an aim to broaden the limited scope of SPP. Students availing SDS can apply to any of the designated educational institutes.
Further, SDS allows a more streamlined visa application process for all participating institutions or universities, by reducing documentation, and speeding up the visa processing time to 45 days. If, upon submission, a student’s application is complete, the immigration department can begin reviewing it right away. Nevertheless, if the student fails to meet the SDS requirements, but fulfils the regular study permit requirements, their application will be considered as a regulation permit; and, therefore, will not receive the benefits of SDS.
Students applying to Canadian universities have a clear advantage in the newly introduced SDS program. To learn more about the Canadian Visa process and resolve any visa related issues, contact our experienced counselors, who have a 100 per cent success rate in student visa counselling.