Amidst all the travel restrictions and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a rise in the number of Indian students being approved to pursue higher education in Canada. In the first four months of 2021 alone, 83 percent more students were approved than in the whole of 2020.
The Times of India reported that study permit approval rate in the months of January-April this year has been 74 percent with 67,000 approvals as opposed to 49 percent (36,778 approvals) in 2020. "Nearly 3 in 4 Indian students have bee approved for a study permit during the first four months of 2021, this is up from the ratio of 1 in 2 last year and 2 in 3 in 2019," the report added.
In November 2020, when the admission process had just started, The Print in conversation with experts highlighted that since the students knew that the COVID-19 situation was here to stay, they were not keen on putting their plans on hold. The news website shared an informed prediction about 2021 being the year when a large number of students turn to foreign education, including those who had dropped their plan the previous year, applying to a lot more universities than they would have done in pre-COVID-19 times.
"Specifically for Indian post-secondary (college, undergraduate, and graduate combined) students, the top 3 most popular streams of study by new Canadian study permits issued in 2020 were: Business & Commerce (22%); Computing & IT (20%), and Business, Management, & Marketing (15%). These were also the top 3 most popular streams in 2019 (21%, 18%, and 13%, respectively)," The Times of India reported.
What is rather more interesting to know is that despite all the travel restrictions and increase in costs for students bound to Canada via a third country, students are still choosing to go to the north-American country.
There has been a steady rise in the number of students moving to Canada for education and subsequent residency, for the past few years.
The Post Graduate Work Permit is one pull for these students. It allows International students who have completed more than eight months of education in a Canadian University, to stay and work in Canada. They are allowed to work in any occupation, even unrelated to their field of education. Applicants do not need to have a job offer at hand before applying for the permit and the permit is valid for up to three years.
In 2020, the program saw a 98 percent acceptance rate, The Times of India reported.
After a year of employment in Canada, one can apply for permanent residency. The pathway to residency for international students has been made accessible by a law passed in April. Canada promised to have special policies for international graduates for residency in view of boosting the economy. The country would be accepting 90,000 new residents and a 40,000 of those will be targeted to international students who graduated from Canada.
"As we continue the fight against the pandemic, immigration will remain critical to our economic recovery by addressing labour shortages and adding growth to our workforce," the Ottawa press release mentioned, adding "to be eligible, International graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last 4 years, and no earlier than January 2017."
Canada has its travel ban on incoming flights from India till 21 September and so most people travelling from India to Canada have to go via a third country where they have to take the PCR test. This has increased costs for travel including the cost of the test, cost of stay in the third country till the test results come out, and also costs of having to abide by the COVID-19 norms in those countries.
(With inputs from The Times of India and The Print)