Gaining a Canadian Study Permit for Indian students has always been a challenge. Now, the Student Partnership Programme launched recently by the Canadian High Commission, New Delhi, has come as a boon for Indian students.
Currently, hordes of students are flocking to visa consultants nationwide as this 'golden opportunity' has been thrown open to them for only six months. Experts opine that this project is for 'selected' government community colleges in Canada and has now virtually made migration to that country a cakewalk for Indian students.
"Now a Canada study permit is guaranteed within 14 days, by fulfilling seven basic requirements of the High Commission," informs Kamal K Bhumbla, CEO of BN Overseas Educational Services (foreign educational services for the last 14 years), in an interview with RMS Atwal.
Excerpts from the interview:
What does the Canada Student Partnership Programme mean to Indian students and how has it been recieved? The response so far is tremendous. We at BN Overseas are getting hundreds of enquiries every day. The project was launched on May 4, as a new policy for select community colleges in Canada. The idea is not only to streamline the student application process but to put it in the fast lane.
In the past, the Canadian High Commission (CHC) has not given many visas to Indian students (just 3,000-4,000 last year) as compared to other countries. In what is a welcome development, the Canadian Government is now keen on getting more international students from Australia, the UK and India. Under this project, applications will be processed in a very short period. They have asked for only seven documents and the visa application process will be processed within 14 days -- guaranteed.
Would you elaborate on these seven documents?
1. Application for a student visa
2. Acceptance letter from a Canadian education institution
3. Receipt of tuition fees
4. IELTS score-card
5. Copy of a diploma or another similar certificate
6. Proof of bank loan
7. Income tax or employment details of the parents
As compared to earlier years, the new application process is very short and the file contains few documents. So, submission of all these 'genuine' documents can guarantee our students a visa in a few days.
What about cases of fraudulent documentation?
Following interaction with various high commissions all these years, I have found that most of the fraudulent documents come from Punjab or Hyderabad. This leaves a very negative image of our people. Today, almost every country is looking for Indian students because they are believed to easily learn the English language and settle in the country of their choice. Our students are hard-workers and are preferred the world over. But here's a warning: if a student is found to submit fraudulent documents s/he can be barred for applying for immigration to any other country for five years, which can ultimately destroy a student's career and their parents' pride. The CHC is very strict about this.
Getting permanent residency is the main motive of many students. How is the Canadian government reacting to this?
Not only Canada, all countries are looking for international students because it's a high revenue generating business these days. No doubt Indian students' main aim is to settle down there but Canada has no problem about it considering its huge size and scarce population. Our students can study there for two years, work part-time and full time after three-four years. The good thing is that Indian students adopt foreign culture pretty fast. So, they are welcome.
If a student gets a degree from a Canadian institute s/he can work anywhere in the world. I suggest that during the course of the visa interview the student should honestly say, "If I get the chance to work there I will stay but may come back if given a better offer in an MNC in India."
I must also add, if a student is going abroad for higher studies, they will gain international exposure which will help in personality development.
Which courses are in high demand in Canada these days?
Canadian universities are looking for international bona fide students. Students who have completed Senior Secondary Education are eligible for undergraduate diplomas or certificates and bachelor's degree in any stream related to their previous studies ie Buisness, IT, Hospitality, Nursing, Management, Engineering, etc. Canadian education has 10+2+4 system and thus has a four-year degree programme. Students who have completed a three-year degree have the option to opt for a Graduate Diploma or Certificate. Students who have gained a Canadian degree should get a PR in Canada quite easily.
Is scoring merely in 5.5 bands in IELTS in India is fair?
Many students from Punjab are not that good in English but they can work hard and come up to the expectations of foreign universities and colleges. Yes, I agree, just scoring in 5.5 bands is not enough. It does take two-three months abroad to adjust to the environment.
How is the job situation in Canada at the moment keeping in view the Australia situation?
If we talk about Australia, I have been working for student visas since 1996. There is still a shortage of skilled workers in that country though so many Indian students have gone there. Similarly, Canada is a big country with a relatively small population. The Canadian government is looking for more efficient and skilled people. Job opportunities are still tremendous there and the present recession is just a temporary phase.
Our students have to learn to get into their system. For a job, they will have to complete their particular education course because every profession needs at least a diploma. From both my personal and professional experience, there is no problem of jobs in Canada. This is absolutely the right time to move to Canada for students as this project is going to last for only six months.
You have been a Canada visa expert for 14 years now. What advice you have for our students wishing to migrate to Canada?
Any student wishing to migrate to not only Canada but to any foreign country should remember one thing: they are representatives of their country and their country should be proud of them.
(RMS Atwal is a freelance journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)