International Students From Twice As Many Countries Can Apply For Canada’s Student Direct Stream

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International Students From Twice As Many Countries Can Apply For Canada’s Student Direct Stream
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Canada has allowed international students from seven more countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean to apply for the Student Direct Stream (SDS). 

That brings the total number of countries covered by the SDS, a three-year-old program that speeds up the processing of applications for Study Permits of post-secondary students who want to come to Canada to study, to 14. The current expansion doubles the number of countries covered under the educational stream.

“Our country’s diverse and inclusive society, high-quality educational institutions and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice for students from around the world,” says Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino. 

“The global pandemic has caused disruptions and distress for everyone, including international students. By expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we have great optimism that international education will recover, and indeed flourish, as Canada emerges from the pandemic.”


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As of July 9, students will be able to apply for a study permit using the SDS if they live in:

  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Brazil;
  • Colombia;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Peru;
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and;
  • Trinidad and Tobago.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 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.

New Countries Under SDS Sent Almost 16,000 Students To Canada In 2019

In 2019, the IRCC issued nearly 16,000 study permits to applicants from the seven countries that will now be included in the SDS, including about 10,000 from Brazil and 4,400 from Colombia.

Although COVID-19 case counts are dropping as vaccination programs roll out, international students are expected to still face challenges in travelling to Canada in the coming months with the number of available flights still lower than before the pandemic. 

Those that come to Canada to study must follow their university or college’s COVID-19 readiness plan, including planning to quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.

They also have to submit the details of their quarantine plans and vaccinations using the ArriveCAN app before travelling to Canada. Those who meet Canada’s criteria for fully vaccinated travellers can be exempted from the quarantine requirement by a border services officer upon entering Canada.

All applicants under the SDS must provide their results of English or French-language tests and proof that they have access to a student Guaranteed Investment Certificate with a minimum of $10,000 in it to show they will be able to financially sustain themselves in Canada during their studies. 

International Students Brought $22b To Canada In 2018

They must also have completed an immigration medical exam and provided their biometrics before applying.

In 2018, international students accounted for more than $22 billion in spending in Canada, representing 17.4 per cent of Canada’s total service exports that year.

An OECD report published two years ago showed Canada is a top destination for students seeking both high-quality international education and employment in their field of study once they graduate. With Canadian education credentials and skilled work experience in Canada, former international students are well-positioned for success in applying for permanent residence through Express Entry.

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