Canadian colleges pilot express study scheme to reduce time on visa processing
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Canadian colleges pilot express study scheme to reduce time on visa processing

Canadian colleges pilot express study scheme to reduce time on visa processing

Throughout this month, colleges in Canada have been piloting a scheme to make the overseas study process quicker and more efficient for students from Vietnam.

The Canada Express Study Program will run for 18-months, and will be made available to students who have gained admission to one of 38 participating members of the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN) organisation.

The scheme seeks to significantly reduce time spent on visa processing from five months down to two or less, and students will not be required to present such hefty amounts of financial documentation in the course of the enrolment process.

Instead, students will need to pay their first year of tuition up front, and will also need to purchase a CAD$10,000 Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from Scotiabank to cover living costs for the first year of their studies.

The new program is modelled on a similar 2009 scheme called the Student Partners’ Project (SPP), which initially sought to provide simplified visa processing to students deriving from India. Data shows that after the program launch, approval rates jumped from 38 percent to 75 percent, and Indian student enrolments increased from 1,200 in 2008 to 14,000 last year. In 2011, the success of the program meant it was extended to include students originating from China.

Paul Brennan, vice president of international partnerships at CICAN, claims the program has been developed to address increasing interest in Canadian overseas study from potential students in Vietnam.

“We have a few hundred students, but the five months’ time to process and relatively low approval rates for colleges and institutes were a disincentive to apply to Canada,” he told The PIE News.

“This will hopefully bring us more in line with the US, the UK and Australia, who are attracting thousands of students.”

According to a 2015 CIBE report, Canada currently ranks as the seventh most popular overseas study destination for international students worldwide. There were 336,497 international students living in the region in 2014, representing an 83% increase since 2008, and an increase of 10% on figures from 2013.

In 2014, there were 4,843 Vietnamese students studying in Canada, amounting to 1.44 percent of the country’s total international student enrolments that year. Vietnam also represents one of the countries with the fastest growing number of students pursuing a Canadian education, with figures from the last academic year up 16 percent on those from 2013-14. Nigeria (+25%), Brazil (+15%) and France (+15%) also illustrate the global regions sending an increasing number of students to study abroad in Canada.

On top of the streamlined process for proving financial stability, Brennan notes that letters of acceptance from the institutions themselves will be much more clear and concise, providing all the information to meet the needs of Immigration Canada and allow them to assess more efficiently.

All prospective students must demonstrate proficiency in English with an overall IELTS score of 5.0, with no band less than 4.5, and must submit their application 60 days prior to the commencement of their course. Students must also go through a medical examination at least seven days before sending their application.

If the new Canada Express Study Program is successful, Brennan hopes the scheme will be expand to incorporate other student markets. “Next on the list is Nigeria which has excellent students but also a number of institutional challenges,” he said.

Image via Pixabay.

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