Canada streamlines visa processing for international students with its SDS program

International students desirous of pursuing a course in a Canadian post-secondary institution may now have a shorter wait time in obtaining visa approval as the Candian government has made some changes in its student visa policy.

Canada streamlines visa processing for international students with its SDS program
Canada streamlines visa processing for international students with its SDS program

What are Major Changes in Canadian Student Visa Policy?


Amid strong competition from countries like China, US and Russia, the Government of Canada doesn’t want to lose its share of most eligible international students. A new student facilitation program, Student Direct Stream (SDS) has been introduced with effect from June 8 last, replacing the old Student Partnership Program (SPP).

How Changes in Canadian Students Visa Policy impact International Students?

With this Canadian visa program, the students will get more options to choose from the educational institutes in the North American country. While the SPP allowed them to study for a course in any of the 40 post-secondary institutes in the country, the SDS will let the international students enroll in both private as well as publicly funded Designated Learning Institutes(DLI).
While only eligible international students will be able to make their way into the best Canadian institutes, the SDS will make the visa application and approval process faster and simpler for them.
The country’s High Commissioner to India has said that the new Canadian visa program is meant to encourage the international students to study in Canadian institutes that impart high-quality international education in a safe environment but are also affordable.

The Rationale behind Changes in Canadian Student Visa Policy Changes

Unarguably, Canada wants to have the best brains in its top institutes, creating a pool of talent that may well become part of its population down the years.
The new Canadian visa program has been introduced with the aim to ease the flow of students not only from India but also from eastern countries like China, Vietnam and Philipines. It has been designed for the students of these four Asian countries, however, after its success is evaluated, it may be later extended to countries in other parts of the world.

Who are eligible for SDS benefits under Canadian Student Visa Program?

International students can benefit from new Canadian visa program only if they can prove that they have been selected by an (eligible) post-secondary Designated Learning Institute (DLI) and have paid the first year education fees. Further, the student will have to show proof that they have obtained Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 provided by a financial institution that is approved by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Students will also need to prove that they have been through the upfront medical checkup. They would also have to show that they have obtained minimum-required IELTS level of English language ability of 6.0 in all categories, which includes reading, writing and speaking.

How to get SDS benefit as Student in Canada?

 Applications eligible under SDS can be processed within 45 days or less. However, to get the benefit of the new streamlined visa processing under the new Canadian visa program, students are advised to apply online. Non-SDS applications will be subjected to normal processing time,  official sources have said.