Many international students still waiting for visas to study in Canada
An ongoing strike by the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) has caused a backlog in processing visas of all types, including those required for international students planning to attend Canadian colleges and universities. The rate of visa approvals has dropped by 15 percent, and there has been a 5 percent decline in requests for visas, a PAFSO representative said. Higher education officials fear that the headaches over visa delays are doing harm to Canada’s reputationas a destination for top foreign students, and that there could be lasting consequences.
Source: The Globe and Mail
Editor’s Note: While the PAFSO strike has nothing to do with changing immigration policy, many international student markets – China included – have become very sensitive to visa-related obstacles, which may be perceived as signals that a country is closing its doors. This is very true for families that have a larger plan that either includes work in Canada after graduation or possible immigration. In our experience, processing for Canadian study permits for Chinese students over the course in the summer was delayed to some extent, and in statistical terms, the impact in China was less than feared. However, the media has a habit of focusing not on statistics, but rather testimonials, and surely some Chinese students’ study plans have been significantly impacted by the strike. Reporting on a few of these specific instances could diminish the perception of Canada as welcoming in its key international market. Canada’s government would be very wise to ensure it invests in rolling out the red carpet to international markets over the coming year to reaffirm its position that international students are not only welcomed, but that Canada remains committed to its attractive policies around temporary work permits and immigration for international students.