Canada’s Student Direct Stream: Everything You Need To Know

Everything You Need To Know

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Effective August 10, 2023, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is integrating four recently sanctioned English language assessments into the application process for Student Direct Stream (SDS) candidates.

The newly approved English language tests now encompass the following:

  1. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General
  2. Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)
  3. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  4. Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)

Moreover, students can undertake the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training or Academic exams. Noteworthy adjustments to the IELTS prerequisites for SDS also become effective on August 10th:

  • Starting August 10, 2023, applicants using IELTS Academic must achieve an overall band score (average of individual skill section scores) of 6.0.
  • For applications submitted before August 10, 2023, utilizing IELTS Academic, a score of 6.0 in each skill (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) is mandatory.
  • Applicants utilizing IELTS General Training must attain a 6.0 score in each skill section, regardless of the application date.

To qualify for SDS, all test results should indicate a comprehensive grasp of an official language of Canada (English or French), encompassing proficiencies in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

For students opting for English assessments, the following minimum scores are requisite:

  • 7 for CELPIP General tests
  • 60 for CAEL tests
  • 60 for Pearson Academic tests
  • 83 for TOEFL iBT tests

Importantly, these assessments must be taken in person, as online or remotely proctored tests are not accepted for consideration by SDS applicants.

What is the Student Direct Stream?

The SDS program expedites studying permit processing for international students from specific nations. It aims to ensure a processing timeframe of 20 calendar days for qualifying study permit applications.

The countries eligible for the SDS program include Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.

To meet the criteria for SDS application eligibility, students must:

  1. Be lawful residents of the designated countries.
  2. Furnish a copy of their acceptance letter from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  3. Present confirmation of a pre-entry medical examination.
  4. Possess a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 or provide evidence of holding.
  5. Demonstrate payment of tuition fees for the first year of study.
  6. Provide valid proof of language test results acquired two years before the application submission, reflecting qualifying test scores for SDS.
  7. Lodge their application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

It’s important to note that, in line with program guidelines for government officials, even if all these eligibility prerequisites are met, an IRCC officer may only accept the application if they perceive sufficient evidence that the international student can fulfill the terms of their stay in Canada. 

A testament to the success of these endeavors, Canada welcomed over 800,000 international students by the close of 2022, marking the highest number in the nation’s history. This figure signifies an almost tenfold increase since 2008, attributed to internal and external factors.

Nationally, Canadian authorities and DLIs have proactively worked to attract international students, recognizing their contributions to the economy, societal diversity, and cultural enrichment. 

Globally, the growth of middle-class populations has led to a surge in the international student demographic. Canada’s appeal as an educational hub stems from its exceptional quality of education, multicultural reputation, and promising career and immigration prospects post-study—an edge it holds over even other competitive international student markets, such as the United States.

How To Apply For Student Direct Stream?

For a swifter processing of your study permit, it is imperative to submit your application online. The Student Direct Stream does not accept paper applications. Ensuring you enclose all the requisite documents and your application is essential.

Before commencing your online application, please ensure that you have the following:

A scanner or camera to generate electronic copies of your documents. A valid credit or debit card for making the necessary payment. 

In the majority of instances, providing your biometrics is necessary. Paying the biometric fee when you submit your application online is essential.

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