Known for its majestic natural wonders, intense winter cold, and the warmth of its people; Canada is one of the up-and-coming study abroad destinations for Filipino students. Like the US, family connections are a strong incentive for many Filipinos who want to study in Canada especially since there are more than 850,000 people of Filipino descent living in Canada (2016 Canadian Census) and a third of them living in Toronto. Major student cities in Canada include Montreal, Vancouver, and also Toronto which makes it a great place to have a Filipino community surrounding students.
Good news for all Filipino students who are going to study in Canada; there is a strong initiative from the Canadian and Philippine governments to increase the number of Filipino students in Canada. In June 2017, the Philippines became one of the few countries that Canada has partnered with for their Study Direct Stream (SDS) program which makes it easier and faster for Filipino students to study in Canada. Here’s everything you need know!
Please note that visa requirements and eligibility rules change constantly. It is always best to check the current official government websites to get the most updated information.
What is the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program?
It is a newly launched program initiated by the Canadian government and the Philippines’ CHED to increase the number of Filipinos studying abroad in Canada. Benefits of this program are that the visa process is streamlined, there is less financial documentation required, and there is a faster visa processing time. Other countries that are part of this program are China, India, and Vietnam.
Am I eligible for the SDS Program?
In order to qualify for the SDS Program, you need to fulfill the ff. requirements:
- Have admission already into a full-time program in a publicly funded university, college, or institute.
- Possess an IELTS score which was taken within the past two years with a minimum band of 6 for each ability (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking).
- Have purchased a special guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from Scotiabank of CAD $10,000 to cover living expenses for the first year of stay in Canada
- Possess proof of payment of the tuition fee for one year
- Provide upfront medical examination at least one week before submission of the application.
If you are going to a privately funded university, college, or institute – you may need to apply for the regular study permit.
What documents do I need to provide for the SDS program?
- Copy of your acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI)
- Copy of your upfront medical exam confirmation document
- Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
- Proof that you’ve paid the tuition fees for your first year of study
- Proof of your English Language proficiency by scoring a minimum of 6 for each part of the IELTS
- Family Information Form (IMM 5707)
- Original passports and a copy of the passport bio-data page
- Official fee schedule of your tuition, accommodations, meal plans, and miscellaneous expenses
- Personal study plan that describes your proposed program of studies and how it relates to your future goals.
- Proof of studies of your current and past education.
- Police Certificates
If you are a minor, you will need to provide additional documents:
- Birth certificate
- Notarized Custodianship Declaration
If you are going to study in Quebec, you will need to provide an additional document:
- Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ)
How much does the SDS and study permit application cost?
The application fee for the study permit is 150 CAD with an additional 85 CAD for the required biometrics which totals to 235 CAD which is around 9,500 PHP.
How long is the processing time for the SDS stream and regular study permit take?
The processing time for the SDS stream and the regular study permit can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days.
How early should I apply for the SDS stream or regular study permit?
Apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance. Check the application processing times to see how long they would normally take which changes depending on the volume of applications the embassy received.
How long does the study permit last?
The study permit is valid for the entirety of your study program plus 90 extra days which allows you to make the necessary preparations to leave Canada or apply for extensions of your stay.
Can I bring my spouse and/or children with me?
Yes, but they need to complete their own respective visa applications which can be submitted together with your own.
What are the part-time work conditions for me once I have my study permit?
Foreign students are allowed to work on campus even without a student work permit. If you wish to apply for off-campus work, you will need to get a student work permit. Student workers can work up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and work full-time during breaks.
Now that you know what’s needed to achieve that Canadian study abroad dream, make sure to do all your preparations in advance! So don’t forget to give it all you’ve got in your application or as they say in Canada, “Give’r!”.
For more information on schools, courses, and scholarships in Canada, visit the Edukasyon.ph Study Abroad page here!