The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that the international students will be able to enter Canada from October 20 provided that the institute they are enrolled in has COVID 19 readiness plan as approved by the local provincial or territorial government.
Marco EL Mendicino, the minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said that the institutions that are allowing the arrival of international students must specify their plan of quarantine, safety, well-being and medication of individual. The institution will also have to establish protocols for students in case of confirmed or suspected COVID 19 cases. He further added that strict but necessary penalties will be imposed if any rules are broken under the quarantine act.
The Colleges and Institutes Canada in a statement said that the announcement of allowing international students at colleges and institutions of Canada is a positive development and reflects the collective efforts to plan and prepare for the safe arrival of students.
While it is good news for institutions and international students, not all students will be able to return to the country because of visa restrictions, especially for Indian students. There are still many students who had to defer their studies due to travel restrictions and lack of visa services in their country. Only those students from abroad who have a valid visa and a confirmed offer letter from the institution will be able to visit Canada.
The CEO of ApplyBoard, Martin Basiri, mentioned that the majority of the students who arrive at Canada for higher education purpose mostly consists of students from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan. As per the current academic requirements asked by the Canadian Colleges, these students are required to attempt IELTS or TOEFL. Due to the prevailing situation, centres for these examinations are working at 25-30% of their capacity, he added.
Larissa Bezo, the president and CEO of Canadian Bureau for International Students stated that the educational institutions have been working with the provinces and territories to prepare a readiness plan that allows for safe welcoming of international students. Bezo also added that conditions for the plans have been set up across the Canada on a municipal, provincial and federal level. Therefore, the plans may vary from institutions to institutions, however, basic thematics threads will be common among them, with regards to safety and preparedness to support students with the federal quarantine requirements upon arrival.
Bezo added that that the readiness plans of the institutions will pass through a panel, subsequently receiving or not receiving the approval. Institutions that receive the approval will be mentioned on a list that will be published by the IRCC from 22nd of October, this year. She added that the institutions and readiness plans may not be ready from the get-go, however the IRCC expects the list to be dynamic and evoling as the current situation unfolds across the country.
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