The SDS process was launched in 2018 for students applying from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam, the same year when nearly 54,000 former students transitioned to permanent residence.
“In expanding the SDS… we’re enhancing the tremendous benefits that international students provide”
A statement on the Government of Canada website explained that the expansion of the SDS supports the government’s goal of attracting students from a more diverse range of countries, as identified as a priority in the new international education strategy launched in August.
“By providing fast, reliable processing of study permit applications, Canada is better equipped to compete in attracting the best and the brightest from around the world,” the statement continued.
With Canadian education credentials and skilled work experience in Canada, former international students are “well-positioned for success in applying for permanent residence through Express Entry”.
Since 2017, Express Entry candidates with strong French skills have been able to earn additional ranking points, providing them more opportunity for them to successfully transition to permanent residence and contribute to the growth of Francophone communities outside of Quebec.
“Expanding this faster and more efficient application process to prospective students from Senegal and Morocco supports the government’s Francophone Immigration Strategy to encourage more young French speakers to choose to study in Canada,” the statement explained.
Commenting on the announcement, Canada’s minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen said Canada’s diverse, welcoming society, high-quality educational institutions and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice for students from around the world.
“In expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we’re enhancing the tremendous cultural, social and economic benefits that international students provide,” he added.
However, speaking with The PIE News, Canadian immigration consultant Dave Sage explained that while there is no doubt the idea behind the SDS is appealing as it removes much of the risks associated with the admission of students to Canada, “it may not be a driver of diversity that it is sometimes purported to be”.
“First, over 60% of students admitted to Canada already come from SDS countries, and it’s been difficult to roll out in many others where we could stand to see more approvals,” he said.
“I am concerned that this will actually work against diversity”
“From what I am told this is not so much the fault of IRCC – which has indicated it wants to roll out the SDS all over the world – but with local banking infrastructure or unwillingness of sender countries to participate.
“Until we have a much greater list of countries eligible for the SDS, given the dismal approval rates around the world, I am concerned that this will actually work against diversity, as it will further create a two-tier system,” Sage added.