New study permit-related announcements by IRCC
Our Canada expert Rahul Kumar talks about impact of the new study permit-related announcements made by IRCC on July 14
On July 14, the IRCC (Immigration, refugees and Citizenship Canada) made announcements outlining temporary changes to the visa application process for international students. The announcements also covered some important points related to online learning, hybrid/blended learning and their impact on the post-study work rights of international students. There are many interpretations of the notification available on various platforms. So, we decided to break it down for everyone so that our students and client institutions are able to take relevant decisions accordingly.
Basis the stage students are at right now; the impact is different. Here is the summary of what it means for students who are in different stages of their visa application:
1. Mode of visa application
Earlier: Students were able to apply for their visa through paper application or online
Now: Student can only apply online for a study permit through the IRCC portal. Priority processing will happen for complete online application
2. Study permit deadline
Earlier: For the Sep intake, the deadline to apply for visa was 1st Aug
Now: For the Sep’20 intake, the deadline to make a study permit application is 15th Sep
3. Study permit application stage
Earlier: Students were required to have a study permit to get the benefit of work permit, if they started their classes online
Now: Even if students have made a study permit application and waiting for an outcome, they can start their classes online and will qualify for full work permit given they get their visa approval at a later stage. The advantage now is that the time count will begin from the first day of class if the study permit application was made before 15th Sep, and not from the day students get a visa. So basically, what it means for IDP is that if our counsellors and students are confident about their visa chances, we can make a visa application and start classes online
4. Visa approval stage
Earlier: Students normally get only one visa outcome – approval or refusal – when they submit a complete application including biometrics, medicals etc.
Now: Because of the current situation, IRCC will give visa outcome in two stages.
- Stage 1: In-principle approval – Student can submit their study permit applications without biometrics or medicals etc., and if they meet the eligibility requirement they’ll get an in-principle approval from IRCC
- Stage 2: Final approval – students after getting their in-principle approval are still required to submit the remaining documents at a later date. When they do that, they get their final approval. Getting an in-principle approval does not guarantee a final approval. After submitting biometrics, if students are found to be a security threat or medical threat, they could be denied final approval
5. Impact on enrolment for online or hybrid/blended classes
- Students who have applied for the visa can opt for online or hybrid/blended classes and the time spent on online classes will be counted towards full work permit, given they get their visa at a later stage
- Students who have received an in-principle approval can opt for online or hybrid/blended classes and they’ll qualify for a full work permit, given they submit the remaining documents at a later stage and get the final approval
- Students who have received visa earlier can continue to opt for online or hybrid/blended classes
Clearly IRCC is doing everything possible to help students and institutions. Both students and counsellors are quite excited as well.
Now, the ball is in the education provider’s court. There are three important questions that they need to answer, which will play a huge role in helping students take their final decision. I would therefore request all the key decision makers at institutions to support students by answering the following three questions:
- Many students who started online classes in May 2020 are about to complete 50% of their programs online. They now are required by the IRCC to start physical F2F classes in Canada to finish the remaining 50%, which means that they are required to apply for a visa extension. Institutions don’t seem to be prepared at the moment to support students with the documentation which would enable them to apply for a visa extension. Institutions need to come up with a mechanism urgently to ensure that new students enrolling for online classes for Sep intake are able to do that with confidence. If the May intake students suffer, not many new students will register for an online start in Sep’20.
- The deadline to apply for a visa for the Sep’20 intake has been extended till 15th Sep from 1st Aug. Are institutions prepared to extend their application submission deadlines for Sep? Will they issue more offers to try to increase online enrolments for Sep and accommodate student interest?
- Students need a clear and flexible refund policy from each institution to be able to go for online enrolments. What happens when a student is rejected after getting an in-principal approval? Will the student lose the entire year’s tuition (assuming they don’t hear back from the IRCC within the stipulated timeline defined by institutions) as per institution’s current refund policies, or will institutions come up with a policy where students only loose a small portion of the paid amount in such cases?
In the coming weeks, institutions who answer these questions first will enjoy the maximum student confidence, which will reflect in their enrolments. From a student’s perspective, if they have all this information beforehand, their trust in their institution and in Canada will be strengthened and they’ll be able to take the best decision for their careers.
Updated on July 22, 2020
IDP Study Abroad Insights
For students like you interested in studying in Canada, we have a wonderful series – Study Abroad Insights. This web series covers most commonly asked questions about studying in the country answered by industry experts.
Read more articles by our Canada expert Rahul Kumar
Keep posted, follow us on
Rahul Kumar, Associate Director – Canada, at IDP Education (India, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Sri Lanka), is responsible for driving, training and growth of Canada team in his region across 42 offices in 4 countries. He works closely with Canadian institutions to ensure that our students and counsellors are up-to-date with any new development and process changes related to Canada. Under his able leadership, IDP has witnessed tremendous growth in Canada over the last 3 years in terms of student enrolments and quality counselling.
Rahul comes with a rich experience in the international education industry. Prior to joining IDP, he was associated with Fanshawe College, Canada and King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He holds an MBA along with an undergraduate degree in Electronics Engineering.