Submitted by World Gates...
Due to COVID-19, 2020 saw a steep decline of student immigration into Canada. According to IRCC data, 222,656 study permits were approved in 2019. In 2020, that number dropped to 57,365. The data for 2021 is not yet released. However, based on what we are seeing in the industry, we fully expect the numbers to recover significantly. This is because the Canadian government is finally easing travel restrictions to Canada for vaccinated international students, campuses are preparing to re-open this fall by investing in COVID-19 readiness plans, and student interest in Canada as a destination of choice remains at an all-time high.
Indeed, even in 2020, despite extreme restrictions in travel, immigration, and access to in-person instruction, several thousands of students across the world still applied for a Canadian study permit. Refer to the chart below for the number of study permit applications submitted to IRCC in 2020 from the top 15 countries.
Nevertheless, challenges remain. For example, flights from India are suspended until July 21, 2021. It remains to be seen whether the suspension will be extended beyond July 21 as concerns about the Delta variant are ongoing. Another challenge is that processing times for study permit applications remain long. At present IRCC does not provide a specific deadline for Study Permit applications but does provide an estimated processing time which is between 3-5 months. For example, international students who wished to begin their studies in Fall of 2021 were advised to submit their application by May 15th. These students are expected to receive their decision by August 6th, 2021, according to the most recent IRCC guidelines. However, IRCC has given this date with the assumption that the student has submitted an accurate and complete study permit application. Students should note that a successful study permit application can take several weeks to prepare before one is ready for submission.
2021-22 looks better than 2020, but the gains are still tentative, and challenges remain. However, BCCCA membership should be encouraged that student immigration in Canada is trending in the right direction. Schools who are on top of the changes in this landscape and who best prepared for an eventual re-opening will be situated to take advantage of what will surely be a huge influx of international students in 2022.