Canadian immigration authority (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) rejected over fifty (50) per cent of international students admitted to undergraduate programmes in the country’s colleges between January and May this year, with more African students denied Canadian study permit.
According to Polestar, data reported by IRCC show that fifty (53) per cent of this group had their study permit applications rejected this winter and spring. The general refusal rate – including study permit applications to attend primary, secondary, post-secondary institutions and language programs – was thirty-nine (39) per cent during the same period.
The student immigration news website admits this has been a continous trend in the North American study abroad destination, which has seen its popularity soared in the last ten years or so.
At Saint Mary’s University, more than one in three (thirty-four (34) per cent) of all students are foreign nationals. Here, however, the trend is in the reversed side, according to its president Robert Summerby-Murray.
He said study permit approvals have been available for his students and he hasn’t heard of problems from other post-secondary institutions. Commenting on his own institutions, he said: “In some markets now, approvals are over ninety (90) per cent.
“We don’t see a fourty (40) per cent denial rate. That’s not our experience at all.”
Canada study permit denials in 2019: Africans targeted
Refusal and approval rate varies dramatically according to students’ countries of origin. The highest is seen among African students, where three (3) out of four (4) have had their applications for a new Canadian study permit rejected this winter and spring. Rejection rates among applicants from Algeria and Nigeria were 86 and 81 per cent respectively.
This figure is significantly higher compared to applications from their Japanese and Korean counterparts, who recorded only just a four (94) per cent rate of rejection this year. Polestar said this could be due to the higher likelihood of students from Korea and Japan to attend English-as-a-second-language (ESL) programmes, which usually register lower rejection rates.
The Vice President of Colleges and Institutes Canada, Alain Roy, said his organisation have sought to influence IRCC to expand the student direct stream and to look for ways to improve the study permit approval rate for students from African nations.
“There are areas where we see so much of potentials where study permit approvals are very low,” he stated.
“Africa has a lot of potential for growth but approval rates are very low regardless of the fact that when we do get students to Canada, African students tend to do quite well.”
A Canadian study permit enables international students to live in the country for the duration of their programs. For courses that last less than six (6) months, a study permit is not needed. Those on courses that last longer than six months would, however, need one. They can apply for one online or in-person at the Canadian embassy in the home Countries for a CA$150 (US$117) fee. They will be required to bring their passport, university acceptance letter and proof of financial support among others.
Canadian immigration can refuse a visa application on several grounds. For example, if there is inadequate proof of financial support, if the student will pose serious health or security threat to Canada, or if the application is not completed or suspected to be false. According to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Immigration, Harpreet Kochhar, the last factor was becoming increasingly popular, with almost ten (10) per cent of applications from February 2018 to November 2018 being considered fraudulent, altered or no longer valid.
“This is a popular fraud,” he said, as reported by Polestar.
“Our visa officers spend much time making sure the letter of acceptance is not fake, that it is not created in somebody’s basement and garage , that it is actually the genuine letter of acceptance,” he said.
“For us, it would be a lot more easier if we had the originals and if the letter of acceptance is actually released by a DLI (designated learning institution) so that our visa officers can look at the genuity of the acceptance letter … and therefore don’t have to waste resources into determining if there are fraudulent activities.”