After their study permits were not granted in time for the next semester, international students were forced to postpone their spots to Canadian colleges and study online. Students were advised earlier this year that if they submitted their applications by May 15, they will be processed by August 6, 2021. However, some students who submitted their applications by this deadline have yet to get a response, which IRCC attributes to students submitting incomplete applications. Others who applied after the deadline of May 15 are still waiting for their visas to be approved.
As a result, some students are deferring their start dates, while a huge number of students are continuing to study online rather than attending classes on Canadian campuses. Anuraj Bajwa, dean of international and partnerships at Mohawk College in Ontario, told The PIE, “We have had a lot of our overseas candidates elect to defer their commencement of the programs to January 2022 with the intention of being able to travel to Canada in person to start their studies.”
“We have been quite supportive of their requests, and we are also considering offering a couple of programs that are generally only available in September intakes in January intake.”
According to Bajwa, Mohawk now has 500 international students learning online who are anticipated to visit the country in the coming months. In comparison, little over 730 students have traveled to Canada in the last two to three months to attend classes. These students are from both the first and second semesters. “The delay in processing study permit applications as a result of the scenario caused by Covid-19 has been a challenge for international students as well as educational institutions for the last year or so,” Bajwa noted.
“Add to that, the Canadian government’s safety-related precautionary steps, such as travel restrictions and a prohibition on direct flights from India, which created a lot of uncertainty in the lives of our students who were looking forward to studying at Mohawk College from within Canada,” he said. In September, limited direct flights from India to Canada resumed. IRCC had handled around 370,000 study permit applications as of August 2021. Around 100,000 study permit applications were processed during the same time period the previous year. Earlier this year, the IRCC promised to process all completed study permit applications received by May 15 by August 6.
“As part of this promise, about 29,000 study permit applications were identified. Only 80 had not yet been processed as of August 6, according to the IRCC. IRCC did acknowledge, however, that applications that were inadequate or required additional information were not included in the processing commitment. Many requests in the agency’s processing inventory are inadequate and incomplete, according to The PIE News, and these applications can’t be finalized unless petitioners supply biometrics, immigration medical tests, police certificates, or other missing documentation.
Students who submitted insufficient applications were either rejected or did not receive a response, leaving them in the dark. Complete applications received after May 15, 2021, are being processed as rapidly as feasible by IRCC.
Roughly 60,000 applications completed after that date (approximately 24,000 from India and 3,700 from France) remain to be processed, according to a bulletin distributed to Colleges and Institutes Canada members earlier in September. According to the organization, the queue should be eliminated by the end of September. Deferrals have occurred as a result of the processing delays.