Canada’s post-secondary education system is a large draw for international students who flock to Canada to further their education. International students are considered temporary residents and must obtain a study permit in order to come to Canada. In 2022, there were approximately 550,000 study permit holders across the country. International students also play a critical role in Canada’s economy and education system.

International students who are study permit holders may also make the transition to permanent residence in Canada, as Canada allows thousands of study permit holders to become permanent residents after their studies in Canada are completed. Study permits are desirable, and many are given out each year. However, granting study permits is not an automatic process, and extreme care must be taken during the application process in order to give the applicant the best chance of acceptance. Obtaining proper advice is essential, however, there are, unfortunately, many examples of individuals who have been taken advantage of during this application process.

Study Permit Holders

In order for international students to study in Canada, they must be approved for a study permit. Prospective applicants may apply for a study permit at a Canadian embassy, consulate, or online through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

Several requirements that have to be met before a foreign national can apply for a study permit, some of which include:

  • having a valid passport or travel document;
  • providing proof of acceptance to a designated learning institute in Canada;
  • providing proof of financial support in the form of bank statements or a letter of financial support from a parent to show that they can pay for tuition and living expenses;
  • providing a letter of explanation outlining the purpose of the applicant’s visit to Canada and their plans for studying in Canada; and
  • being otherwise admissible to enter Canada.

A full list of designated learning institutions in Canada can be found on the Canadian Government website.

Student Direct Stream

The Student Direct Stream is a study permit program that allows applicants from specific countries to receive an accelerated study permit much faster than a normal study permit application.

Many countries are included as a part of the Student Direct Stream, including:

  • China;
  • India;
  • Morocco;
  • Pakistan;
  • Philippines;
  • Senegal; and
  • Vietnam.

In 2021, the Student Direct Stream was expanded to include the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Brazil;
  • Colombia;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Peru;
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and
  • Trinidad and Tobago.

There are additional requirements that applicants to the Student Direct Stream must meet, which include:

  • having a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution in Canada;
  • having a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of $10,000 CAD at a Canadian financial institution; and
  • passing a language test in English or French.

Visa Officers and Student Permits

It is important to be as accurate as possible when applying for a student visa because Canadian visa officers can refuse to issue the permit in certain cases. A recent Canadian Federal Court case affirmed the ability that Immigration, Refugees and Citizen Canada visa officers have to refuse study permit applications.

In the case of Barot v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), a prospective student from India had his study permit application denied by a visa officer. The visa officer denied the student’s study permit application after finding that the applicant had low grades in his previous studies at the University of Mumbai and, more specifically, he received low grades in his core courses. Further, the reviewing officer did not believe that the applicant would leave Canada at the expiration of his study permit.

Visa Officers May Use Discretion When Reviewing Study Permit Applications

The student had been admitted to Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario, for a post-graduate certificate in entrepreneurship management. Canadore College is a designated learning institute under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The student claimed that because a Canadian designated learning institute had admitted him, his marks should be deemed sufficient and his student permit should have been granted.

However, the Court held that the visa officer can reject a student visa if they find that the applicant’s grades do not demonstrate the academic proficiency necessary to complete their education in Canada. The Court affirmed that an officer assessing a study permit application has the authority to assess an applicant’s skills and abilities, including academic proficiency. The Court found that mere acceptance into a Canadian academic program is not an absolute indicator of the applicant’s skill and ability as a student, but rather, it is one of several case-specific factors to be considered.

Court Affirms That Study Permit Applications May Be Denied Due To Low Grades

This decision has a wide-reaching impact as it affirms that visa officers have a large amount of discretion available to them when considering whether to grant or reject a study permit application. In cases where students have lower grades, applicants must be aware that their application may be rejected because academic proficiency was not established.

If an applicant with low grades does apply for a study permit, they may explain why their grades are low or why their low grades will not impact their ability to study in Canada successfully.

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Assistance with Applying for a Canadian Study Permit

Garson Immigration Law is based in Toronto and exclusively practices immigration law. Through our years of experience, we are able to successfully guide clients through the immigration process and assist them in applying for study permits. Our skilled immigration lawyers work hard to ensure that you are positioned for success with respect to your immigration application by finding a solution that meets your individual needs. If you have questions about applying for a study permit in Canada, contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860.

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