R Immigrations Services Inc.


Exploring the Student Direct Stream for studying in Canada

Source: CIC News

Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a fast-tracked program designed to accelerate the study permit process for qualified international post-secondary students.

Presently, the SDS program aims to quickly provide foreign students from the following 14 countries with a permit to study in Canada:

Countries Eligible for the SDS Program

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

If you are a citizen of one of the above countries and you reside in that country (outside of Canada) at the time that you apply for a study permit through the SDS program, you will need to meet these requirements to be deemed eligible:

  • Be able to prove that you have achieved language test results demonstrating an IELTS score of 6 in English or NCLC 7 for French
  • Be able to provide a copy of the letter of acceptance you received from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution
  • Be able to provide your most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s)
  • Be able to prove that tuition fees for the first year of study are paid
  • Be able to present a confirmation document for your upfront medical exam
  • Be able to prove that you have obtained a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
  • Be able to present a police certificate prior to when you apply
  • If you are planning to study in Quebec: be able to present a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration
  • Submit the application to a Visa Application Centre (VAC)

The Canadian government’s website contains a detailed explanation of some of these eligibility criteria. On this webpage, you will find extensive detail regarding such things as the different ways you can prove your first year of tuition has been paid, different financial institutions that provide GICs and who would need (and would not need) a medical exam and/or police certificate with to go alongside your application.

Additionally, as a prospective applicant, you may need varying documentation for visa application processing depending on where you live. Below is a list of Government of Canada documents written for 11 of the 14 SDS-eligible countries, which detail the visa office instructions pertinent to each country.

Note: The Canadian government does not, at the time of writing, provide documents with visa office instructions for Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, or Trinidad and Tobago on their website.

Brazil: Sao Paulo Visa Office Instructions

China: China Visa Office Instructions

Colombia: Bogota Visa Office Instructions

Costa Rica: Mexico City Visa Office Instructions

India: India Visa Office Instructions

Morocco: Rabat Visa Office Instructions

Pakistan: Abu Dhabi Visa Office Instructions

Peru: Lima Visa Office Instructions

Philippines: Manila Visa Office Instructions

Senegal: Dakar Visa Office Instructions

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh-City Visa Office Instructions

Canada aims to process all SDS applications in roughly 20 days. IRCC notes that this may take longer if additional support documents are required for your application, however.

Post-Submission Process

Once an application through the Student Direct Stream is approved, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will provide you with a Port of Entry (POE) letter as proof to a visa officer that you have been approved for a study permit. This will be accompanied by either a temporary resident/visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) if you need one. It is important to understand the need for a travel visa in addition to a study permit because the Canadian government wants to ensure applicants remember that SDS program permits do not, by themselves, “allow you to travel to or enter Canada.

In other words, these two accompanying pieces will be your true key to entering this country as an international student. Only then will your study permit take effect and allow you to continue your post-secondary education in Canada.


Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announces work permit extension for PGWP holders

Source: CIC News

Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has just announced those with an expiring Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will be able to apply for an Open Work Permit extension as of April 6, 2023.

The Open Work Permit extension will be available to anyone whose PGWP expires in 2023. It will also be available to those whose PGWP expired in 2022 and applied for IRCC’s Open Work Permit extension last year.

Beginning April 6, candidates will be able to apply for the extension on IRCC’s website. Those that apply will get an email with an interim work permit authorization which they can show employers to continue working legally in Canada.

Those whose legal status in Canada has expired will also be able to apply at the same time to restore their status, even if their status expired outside of the 90 day grace period that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides. This means such individuals will be able to restore their status and get an interim Open Work Permit authorization at the same time, as early as April 6.

IRCC says it will send messages to those who are eligible for the extension to invite them to log into their online IRCC Secure Account starting on April 6.

Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP) are available to international students who graduate from an eligible educational program at a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI).

DLIs are colleges, universities, and other educational institutions approved by the government to welcome international students.

PGWPs enable international graduates to work for any employer of their choice in Canada for a maximum duration of three years (the length of a PGWP is determined by the length of the educational program completed by the international graduate).

PGWPs are highly coveted by international students due to the nature of Canada’s economic class immigration programs.

Many of these programs rewards candidates who have studied and worked in Canada.

The rationale behind this is Statistics Canada research showing that such study and work experience can help to support the labour market integration of international students who go on to become Canadian permanent residents.

The combination of gaining a Canadian education, plus work experience, improving one’s English or French skills, and developing social networks in Canada are all thought to contribute to the economic integration of these immigration candidates.

As such, certain pathways, such as the federal Express Entry system, offer more points to those with Canadian study and work experience.

In addition, there are provincial pathways, such as through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), available specifically to international graduates.

The majority of Canada’s international students report an interest in applying for permanent residence.

Canada’s receptiveness to global talent, including its increasing immigration levels are contributing to higher international student levels.

Canada was host to over 800,000 international students at the end of 2022, an all-time record.

PGWP holders easily account for the majority of temporary residents (TRs) who transition to permanent residence (PR).

In 2022, nearly 98,000 PGWP holders became permanent residents, which is about 82 per cent of all TRs who became PRs.

Canada is looking to welcome a record 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, and this will rise to a target of 500,000 in 2025.

Canada does not have a target of TRs it seeks to transition to PR, but Minister Fraser has stated repeatedly his desire to facilitate such transitions.

One of Minister Fraser’s priorities, as outlined in the mandate letter provided to him by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is to facilitate more TR to PR transitions via Express Entry.

Due to the strong demand for PGWP holders to become permanent residents, IRCC has made two exceptions in recent years, enabling those with expiring PGWPs to apply for Open Work Permit extensions.

The purpose of these exceptions has been to give these individuals more time to potentially obtain permanent residence.

The last exception was available to those whose PGWP expired between September 2021 and the end of December 2022.

IRCC notes there were more than 286,000 PGWP holders in Canada at the end of 2022. About 127,000 PGWPs expire in 2023, however about 67,000 PGWP holders have already applied for permanent residence and will not need to extend their work permit through this initiative.


Where are new Canadian citizens coming from?

Source: CIC News

In the next three years, Canada will welcome more than 1.45 million new immigrants across its immigration streams—in the hopes of settling and assimilating these newcomers to strengthen the economy, demography, and culture of the country.

The arrival of immigrants is crucial to the continued health of Canada. The country hopes to not just integrate newcomers as permanent residents, but eventually as citizens who have strong ties and vested interests in Canada’s development and growth.

As a country largely comprised of immigrants, it can be pertinent to learn where the Canadians of tomorrow hail from, especially considering the newest immigration targets. The latest IRCC data yields some interesting insights into this question.

Top Source countries of 2022

In 2022, 374,554 permanent residents became Canadian citizens.

This is a huge increase from 2021, which saw little over a third of that number (137,079) transition to citizens—and a moderate increase from pre-pandemic numbers (250,000 new citizens welcomed in 2019)—a good sign that Canada’s immigration system is returning to normal functioning, and addressing domestic needs as required.

The most frequent country of birth among new citizens in 2022 was India, followed by the Philippines and then Syria, respectively.

The top ten birth countries of permanent residents (PRs) who transitioned to Canadian citizens are detailed below:

  1. India (59,503 PRs transitioned to citizens);
  2. Philippines (41,540 PRs);
  3. Syria (20,355 PRs);
  4. Pakistan (15,188);
  5. Iran (13,082);
  6. Nigeria (12,670);
  7. People’s Republic of China (10,722);
  8. United States of America (9,215);
  9. France (8,163); and
  10. Iraq (7,692).

India remains in top spot

For a second year in a row, India has been the top source of new Canadian citizens. In 2021, Canada welcomed 20,866 new citizens from India—displacing the Philippines which had prior been the biggest source country for new citizens.

Within the last four years the top ten source countries of Canadian citizens have not much changed, however there has been a re-ordering of the countries. Of note has been the growth in Syrian PRs who have transitioned to citizens in recent years (third biggest source country). This is a sharp departure from 2019, when Syria did not feature at all in the top 10.

The same can be said about Pakistan, which (similarly absent from 2019’s top 10 source countries) is today the fourth most popular country of birth among new Canadian citizens. Formerly in the same territory was the People’s Republic of China, which has fallen from fourth in 2019 to seventh in 2022.

What is the pathway from PR to Citizenship?

Once landed as a PR, those looking to become Canadian citizens must assess whether they are eligible to apply for citizenship, and when they can do so.

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship as a PR, one must:

  • Be a permanent resident of Canada;
  • File taxes if necessary;
  • Pass a Canadian citizenship test (if between the ages of 18-54);
  • Prove language skills (if between the ages of 18-54);
  • Meet Canada’s physical presence requirements;

If all other factors are met, a PR applying for citizenship must have spent at least three of the last five years (1,095 days) physically in Canada to be eligible for citizenship (unless under exceptional circumstances).

If an applicant has spent time in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person, they can count each day in Canada under this status, as half a day towards the physical presence requirement (with a cap of 365 eligible days towards the physical presence requirement).

Children under 18 who are applying must still be PRs but can waive the physical presence requirement.