The Canadian government has decided to expand the Student Direct Stream (SDS) programme to include international students from Pakistan, enabling them to get a student visa in 'less than three weeks'.
Pakistan was recently included in the SDS programme by the Canadian Immigration Department, according to a press release issued on July 26. The Canadian government had initiated the programme for students from India, China, Philippines and Vietnam last year.
"The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is now available to study permit applicants who are living in Pakistan," the press release stated, adding that most SDS applications from countries already part of the programme were being processed in under three weeks.
"SDS applications require prospective students to provide more up-front information to officers, including meeting language test requirements in English or French and providing additional information that shows their ability to finance their education. With additional information, officers can process applications more efficiently," it read.
According to the press release, the expansion of the SDS supported the Canadian government's "goal of attracting students from a more diverse range of countries".
"Many international students who graduate from a program in Canada often become eligible for a post-graduation work permit. With a Canadian education and skilled work experience in Canada, former international students are well positioned for success in applying for permanent residence through Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program or the Atlantic Immigration Pilot."
"In 2018, in fact, nearly 54,000 former students transitioned to permanent residence, an all-time high," the press release added.
High Commissioner of Pakistan to Canada Raza Bashir Tarar welcomed the decision, adding that it would facilitate students who desired to study in Canada.
He appreciated the goodwill gesture of the Canadian government and appreciated the special efforts of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and the members of the Canadian Parliament for fulfilling their commitment.
The high commissioner, in his meetings with the Canadian officials, had urged them to include Pakistani students in the SDS programme as "academically, Pakistani students are second to none".