Getting to Canada before


Getting to Canada before

Jamaica to Canada

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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Dear Mr Brown,

I am concerned about the closure of the visa applications centres (VACs) for submitting biometrics for study permit applications. I will be studying in September, but with the delays I am not sure if the application will be processed in time.

— DH

Dear DH:

Thank you for your query. I share you concern. The closure of the VACs may prevent international students from being able to begin studies in September.

I am not necessarily suggesting that no student will be able to proceed for September; however, I believe there is a likelihood that not everyone will be successful in time for studies in September, unless some extraordinary measures are taken on the part of the Canadian High Commission that I have never observed.

The issues regarding the delay relate to:

1) The actual closure of the VACs.

2) The corresponding large backlog of applications when the VACs reopen.

3) The additional backlog of applications that have not yet been submitted.

4) Delays in obtaining medical checks.

5) Delays regarding obtaining police records.

Perhaps there can be greater flexibility on the part of the Canadian High Commission regarding study permit application requirements so students can get to Canada in time.

Colleges are currently offering distance learning, which consists of online platforms, virtual services, and teleworking operations. While learning at a distance is expected to continue until at least the end of the semester, other college operations will resume to normal as soon as possible.

Normally, distance learning can affect a student's eligibility to obtain a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). It is very important to note that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stated, “Courses of study being delivered online on an exceptional basis due to COVID-19 will not affect PGWP Programme eligibility. Time spent in distance learning due to the current situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic will be counted towards PGWP.”

Most colleges are preparing online offerings for both the Summer and Fall 2020 semesters and will be announcing available programmes in the near future. This will allow students who are unable to travel in the coming months to start their studies from their home country, which I would recommend for those who have been granted a study permit. Another issue that could arise is that a study permit is granted late, but there may be a possibility of starting classes online and then travel to Canada at a later time.

That being said, proceeding with the study permit application as soon as possible is the only aspect we have control of as it relates to the concern about the processing delays.

Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programs, including Express Entry, The Study & Work program, Visas or Appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM—a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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