While others attend orientation, move into their new homes, and take tours around their new campuses, thousands of international students are still at home waiting for answers about their study permits.
This situation occurs due to the backlogs at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. According to IRCC, they were still processing 163,600 study permits as of Aug. 18, 2022. This has complicated education for a significant number of students, especially those who expected to start their studies during the fall semester.
“Me and my parents were really worried I wasn’t going to get my [study] permit on time, I actually got it a couple of weeks before I had to travel to Canada,” says Andrea Monge, an international student from Guatemala who is starting her first semester at Humber College.
“I was constantly checking for notifications and sending messages but they took so long to answer, it just made the whole process a lot more stressful.”
Humber College is one of the educational institutions with a large presence of international students. According to their website, the college has more than 6,000 international students from more than 130 countries spread over the three GTA locations.
Humber College carefully reviewed the delivery method of all their programs after IRCC announced in late August they were extending the temporary distance learning measure. The college came to the decision that only certain programs would be offered online during the fall semester. This leaves hundreds of international students with the difficult decision of having to hold their education yet again.
“The situation is really sad. My process took around four months and I have a couple of friends that are still in India because they did not receive their study permit on time,” says Vrishank Sachdeva, a first year student from India. “My friends will now have to defer their studies from September to January, which is a significant increase in our gap years.”
Humber students who weren’t able to travel on time for the start of the semester were given the option of requesting a refund for their tuition or a deferral. Unfortunately, the college offers no guarantee of a deferral or an offer to next semester as it depends on capacity and availability of the courses.
Skedline did its best to get an interview with Humber College’s Dean of International Education, Andrew Ness, but he wasn’t available on time to meet our deadline. However, he did send a statement.
“Humber College continues to advocate on behalf of our impacted students as part of provincial and national organizations to IRCC to improve both processing times and service time estimates. The IRCC is adding resources that will hopefully improve its processing times soon.”
IRCC stated they are reinforcing staff and modernizing their systems to increase processing capacity and deal with short-term delays.
IRCC asked for students who haven’t received their study permit yet to be patient and recommended they submit a case-specific inquiry. Although students have found these inquiries to also be delayed.