Canada Immigration: Official update

We at CUAC participated in a conference call yesterday in which a senior member of Immigration Canada gave an update. So, we wanted to share this information with you as well as other thoughts that can impact your planning. For those of you whose application was processed through a CUAC office, we will continue to guide you every step of the way.


Canadian government update – study permits (i) Visa Application Centres For the recent many weeks many Visa Application Centres (VACs) have been closed and many medical panel physician offices have been closed. The latest news we received yesterday is that many VACs are reopening and more are expected to open soon.

(ii) Biometrics Even if your biometric instruction letter has a time deadline on it – don’t worry! Immigration Canada advised in our conference call that you dont need to get a new letter. You only need to bring your original letter to the appointment for this as it shows proof of payment.

(iii) Travel Caution If you are issued a study permit depending on the travel rules at the time, you may get an email indicating that you are not exempt from travel restrictions and should not plan to travel to Canada unless restrictions lifted. Note: Canada has not yet opened up its borders. This is not a decision for Immigration Canada but rather for Health Canada and our national Transport ministry . We expect that the opening up of borders will come by July but this is only our opinion.

IMPORTANT: When you are ready to travel please keep a plan for quarantine on arrival. This must be prepared and printed. It will be very important to first know once travel is reopened, whether it is for “non-discretionary” travel or not. “Non-discretionary” refers to emergencies, or other serious situations. This might be extended to include academic requirements that are part of a program like laboratories or workshops.

(iv) Medical examinations For medical examinations, there was a ban that Immigration Canada imposed preventing permission for students to do a medical examination without having any approval in principle for the study permit. This ban has been lifted. So, if you want to save time and try to complete this, you should schedule this examination as soon as you can. This is important because physicians will be busy with a big backlog of cases. You will have to first check if doctors in your area are now open and doing these examinations.

(v) SDS and incomplete files For students applying under the SDS program (applicable for example in India, China, Viet Nam, Philippines, Morocco and Senegal)., if you don’t have all your documents Immigration Canada advises yesterday to use the ordinary, normal application system or only apply when you have all the required documents for SDS.

Also note that about two weeks ago, Immigration Canada announced that it will not close a file because of missing documents. It understands that the current situation is difficult and it will wait until all the documents to complete a file have been submitted. But note well the first point – don’t use SDS unless it is a complete file already.

(vi) Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Canada continues to make an exception during the corona virus period. If you do on-line courses before coming to Canada these will count for the purposes of getting a PGWP. However, there should be an approval of the study permit in principle first for this to count. This is not important for students doing bachelor degrees from first year. These are mostly 4 year programs, less commonly 3 years. Even doing the final two years in Canada is enough for the PGWP rules to apply so that a student would receive a 3 year PGWP.

As always, we welcome questions to blog@cuac.ca

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