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  • Arisnel Mesidor, M.A., RCIC

IRCC discussed the study permit backlog at a symposium


IRCC discussed the study permit backlog at a symposium

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently held a symposium to discuss the study permit backlog. The symposium brought together key players in the process, including representatives from educational institutions, students and their families, and IRCC officials. Participants discussed possible solutions to reduce the backlog and improve the process for all involved.


IRCC has reported a dramatic increase in demand for study permits from foreign students. The sudden surge in applications for study permits was a topic of conversation at a recent virtual symposium organized by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CIBE). IRCC officials were on hand to discuss the number of applications they have received as students return to classrooms in Canada after completing online programs abroad. As of July 17, almost 200,000 people were waiting for their study permit application to be completed.


A majority of applications came from India, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Colombia in the first four months of 2022. Immigrants to Canada mostly come from India and the Philippines. International students often consider Canada to be a desirable place to study. According to a recent report by CBIE, international students choose Canada for its reputation for safety and stability.


Study permit processing backlog


The processing backlog for study permits is a result of the high volume of applications received. The number of applications has been increasing steadily over the past few years and has now reached a record high. The processing times for study permit applications are currently at an all-time high, and the wait time for processing is up to several months. The increase in processing times is due to the fact that there are more applications than there are staff to process them. In order to reduce processing times, the government has introduced new measures such as hiring additional staff and increasing the use of technology. However, these measures have not been sufficient to keep up with the increasing number of applications. As a result, the backlog of applications continues to grow and processing times continue to increase.



A study permit is an official document issued by the Government of Canada that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada. A study permit is not a visa. It does not allow you to enter Canada. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. However, you should make sure you have all the documents you need before you apply. You should apply before you travel to Canada.


You may be eligible to come to Canada to study if you:

  • qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller (If you’re under 18, you don’t have to be fully vaccinated. You do need to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan)

  • are enrolled at a DLI

  • prove you have enough money to pay for

  • your tuition fees

  • living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and

  • return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada

  • obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if required)

  • are in good health and get a medical exam (if required) and

  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires

Also, while studying in Canada you must make progress toward completing your program, respect any conditions listed on your study permit and stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements.


Depending on your case, there may be conditions on your study permit including:

  • if you’re allowed to work in Canada

  • if you’re allowed to travel within Canada

  • the specific date you must leave Canada

  • where you can study (a specific DLI listed on your permit) and you can’t study at a DLI other than the one listed on your permit

  • whether you need an immigration medical examination

When you are ready to apply for a study permit, you must gather the right documents such as proof of acceptance, proof of identity and proof of financial support.


The symposium was a great opportunity for IRCC to update stakeholders on the progress of the study permit backlog. If you are interested in applying for a study permit or any other immigration application, please do not hesitate to contact us at Mesidor Canadian Immigration Services.


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