Getting your study permit in time to start your university life abroad is always a gamble, but it could be more upsetting than usual if you’re bound for Canada. A recent CBC report reveals that international students are now overwhelmed by months of processing visas to Canadawhich derailed their study plans.
Punjab student Ravneet Kaur is one of many Indian students who had to suspend their entry to campus in Canada. “I have no words to express my feeling. I can’t even say it,” she told CBC News. “You see we are suffer financially and there is also emotional damage because we have invested our emotions as well as our money.
Canada is currently struggling with a huge backlog of 2.1 million immigration applications, which jumped nearly 99,000 in April alone. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has reportedly said processing standards are unlikely to return to normal until 2023. Applicants who are still unsure of their immigration status can expect to wait months for updates. up to date on a decision.
For international students like Kaur, the delay has left them wondering if the golden ticket to better educational prospects will ever materialize. Kaur was accepted into the Event Management program at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and submitted her study permit application in July 2021. She had paid heavy expenses for a semester of distance education in college, which had switched to online learning. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that the campus has resumed physical learning for the winter semester, Kaur has no alternative but to play the waiting game. She stands to lose the hard work and money she spent on her first semester if she is not allowed to enter Canada soon.
“We are in a dilemma. What we can do in this situation, we can’t enroll in other courses here as well, and we can’t focus on our personal life and our professional life,” Kaur lamented. “We are not in the situation where we can do anything for ourselves. We’re just stuck.
Canada Visa Processing Times: More International Students and Graduates in Limbo
According to the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reported by CIC News, the total number of study permit applications and study permit extensions stands at 122,145 and 34,242 respectively to April 11, 2022. Earlier in March, Fraser updates unveiled to IRCC’s online processing time tool for clients to get a more accurate estimate of the time of their application.
Despite planned upgrades to tackle IRCC’s visa processing delay for Canada’s temporary and permanent resident categories, international students are increasingly stuck in the system. Outside India, students from Bangladesh and Nigeria said they were in a similar situation. Student Ahnaf Abir took to Twitter to express the plight of Bangladeshi students bound for Canada who still have not received a decision from IRCC even after six months.
“Can you imagine [waiting] only six months for a decision although the official processing time is 11 weeks. It’s not fair at all.” he wrote.
According to IRCC, the processing time for study permits from outside Canada is currently 11 weeks and that’s a huge amount of time just for a final decision, isn’t it?
But, most of the students from Bangladesh who applied for Study Permit still do not get their final decision even after 24+ weeks later
—Ahnaf Abir (@AhnafAbir444) May 19, 2022
Another Twitter user identified as Marhyam mentioned the issues facing Nigerian students with the processing office in Nairobi, with sponsored students at risk of losing their funding if the 2021 backlog is not resolved quickly.
The Canada Visa Office in Nairobi is passive on pending study permit applications as of 2021. Fully funded students lose their funding due to visa application delays. The Nairobi visa office is expected to be invited to work on their October, November and December 2021 study permit.
— Marhyam (@Marhyam6) April 14, 2022
Elsewhere, the pace of visa processing time bottlenecks for PR applicants from Canada jeopardizes the status of Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) holders to work and stay in the country. the non-renewable nature of the permit requires PGWP holders to obtain another work permit or acquire PR status if they wish to remain in the country.
Pausing the Express Entry category, a popular immigration route for international students, has meant fewer places allocated to graduates to transition as immigrants since it came into effect in September 2021 to tackle the backlog growing demand.
Last month the government announced a new open work permit for PGWP holders whose permit expires between January 31 and December 31, 2022, allowing them to work for another 18 months. This effectively excluded other PGWP holders whose permits had expired just before the end of January this year and failed to obtain a change of status to continue working legally in Canada.
“This [open work permit] is a small step in the right direction, but too many people remain without rights, we need permanent residence status for everyone now, especially those in low-paying jobs,” said Sarom Rho, coordinator of Migrant Students United in a Press release. “We need a permanently renewable post-graduate work permit, not a one-time program, and the current announcement must include those who are excluded.”