Visa Crunch

COVID-19 readiness plan reviews slowing down international students’ arrival in Canada

With a major chunk of the year gone by in imposed lockdowns and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is finally creating some headway for students to resume or begin their education at Canadian universities. The IRCC announced earlier that students enrolled at higher education institutions which have an approved COVID-19 readiness plan will be allowed to enter Canada. This protocol has been put into place to ensure that students have a healthy and safe environment to return to and engage in.

While students rejoiced with this news, there is still a very long way to go. This is primarily because of the fragmented educational framework prevalent in Canada, which means that each province will have its own independent and unique approach toward approving the COVID-19 readiness plans submitted by universities within the province. This has inevitably led to a delay in approvals as the intricate plans have to be thoroughly checked and rechecked, to make sure that the university has taken the appropriate measures mandated by international health bodies and the Canadian government.

Most local units have also redirected resources from testing for COVID-19 to approving these COVID-19 readiness plans. The delay caused by this process, combined with the added stress caused by the financial obligations that many students have to burden, and the anxiety caused by the general uncertainty surrounding the reopening of universities, has meant that international students have begun to develop frustration.

As students remain stuck in their home countries, the IRCC has issued a warning to all students who may attempt to travel to Canada even when the institution they are enrolled in has not yet been approved. The IRCC warns that students could be disallowed from boarding their flight or be forced to return at the port of entry.

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