Thursday, January 28, 2010

Canada Works to Welcome More Indian Students to Canadian Colleges

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 28, 2010) - The acceptance rate for Indian students coming to study at a group of Canadian colleges has doubled thanks to a new program between Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). The announcement was made today by Member of Parliament Tim Uppal, on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, and by James Knight, President and CEO of the ACCC.

A joint pilot project called the Student Partners Program was launched in April 2009 between Canada's visa offices in India and twenty member colleges of the ACCC. The goal of the program is to increase the approval rate for study permit applications at participating Canadian colleges.

"The Student Partners Program has resulted in an increase in the number of Indian students on our college campuses," said Minister Kenney. "International students bring with them new ideas and experiences and contribute both financially and culturally to the communities and institutions where they study."

In 2008, India ranked seventh with 3,244 people in terms of source countries for students. The total number of international students in Canada has more than doubled since 1998 to 178,000 and their presence provided employment for over 83,000 Canadians last year. A 2009 study commissioned by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada found international students contributed more than $6.5 billion to the Canadian economy in 2008.

"International students contribute to the cultural life and economic success of colleges and institutes and of the communities they serve. In partnership with CIC, we have doubled the approval rate of visas for students from India coming to Canadian colleges. We will work with CIC to expand the initiative to other ACCC members," said Mr. Knight.

During the first nine months of the launch of the program, CIC's visa offices in India received over 4,000 applications in the program. The program has successfully met its objective: the approval rate for the first group of students under the program coming to study this past September was more than double the approval rate for the same colleges the preceding year. Furthermore, 95 percent of the students remain in good standing at an ACCC college. Processing times within the program are faster than the global norm, with an average of about two and a half weeks.

The program has several checks and balances, from requiring applicants to provide verifiable documentation, to a feedback mechanism where colleges report back on whether students show up. The safety, security and health of Canadians are of the utmost importance. All students who come to Canada through the Student Partnership Program must adhere to the same screening requirements as any visitor or student.

"This type of program benefits both our country and those who participate in it," said Minister Kenney. "When all is said and done, these graduates may remain in Canada and apply to immigrate under the Canada Experience Class. They would make Canada their home and continue to contribute to our country's social and economic fabric."

Canada's network of community colleges offers many outstanding programs to train young Canadians and their counterparts from around the world for the opportunities of today's economy.

The Government of Canada will continue to look at ways to encourage international students to study in Canada.