Study in Canada: IRCC expands Student Direct Stream (SDS) to 7 new countries

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Brazil, Colombia, and Peru are among 7 new countries now included in Canada's fast-track program for international students.

Canada has expanded its Student Direct Stream (SDS), which fast-tracks application processing times for international students.

This was announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. IRCC is a Ministry of the Canadian government and it facilitates the arrival of immigrants, provides protection to refugees, and offers programming to help newcomers settle in Canada. IRCC first launched the SDS for China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam in 2018; it was expanded to include Pakistan, Morocco and Senegal in 2019.

The 7 new countries are:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Peru
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Costa Rica
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) offers expedited study permit processing to those looking to study at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

DLIs are universities, colleges, and other post-secondary educational institutions in Canada that are authorized by the government to welcome international students. Potential international students to Canada first need to receive a Letter of Acceptance  (LOA) from a DLI. Once a candidate receives an LOA, they then need to submit a study permit application to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The purpose of the study permit is to authorize an individual to move to Canada to pursue their education for the duration of their study program.

The processing time for a regular study permit (not through the Student Direct Stream) varies by each country but it can take several months. The benefit of the SDS is that eligible participants can get their study permit application processed by IRCC within 20 calendar days on average, compared to some other programs that can take longer (up to 3 months in some cases), or have undefined processing times.

Students from the 14 countries wishing to apply for a study permit under the SDS need to meet the following criteria:

  • Language Test: They must have obtained a score of at least 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (either IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training) on each skill: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Francophone candidates need to obtain a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) equivalent of 7 in each skill on the Test d’Evaluation de Français
  • Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of at least $10,000 CAD: This needs to be from an eligible Canadian financial institution (bank).
  • Proof of full payment of tuition for the candidate’s first year
    • a receipt from the DLI
    • an official letter from the DLI confirming payment of tuition fees
  • Letter of Acceptance from a Canadian designated learning institution
  • Most recent secondary or post-secondary educational transcript
  • Proof of upfront medical exam

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a record of 642,000 international students were studying in Canada in 2019. The top countries that new immigrants to Canada come from are: India, China, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, and Morocco. These countries are also SDS participants, which gives the residents of those countries yet another way to come to Canada.

There are now a total of 14 countries that are offering the Student Direct Stream. IRCC is committed to the continued expansion of the SDS in support of Canada’s International Education Strategy (2019–2024) and its goal of welcoming more international students from abroad.  IRCC notes that nearly 16,000 study permits were issued to residents of the 7 new SDS countries in 2019, of which about 10,000 were to students from Brazil and some 4,400 to students from Colombia.

For international students, the SDS is an amazing opportunity to study in Canada. For IRCC and DLIs, the SDS is beneficial in that it provides greater certainty for candidates looking to pursue education in Canada.

Immigrate helps connect people who need immigration help with Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants. Our team of experts can help you make a plan, review any applications you have prepared or even help you with the whole process. 

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