Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has opened seven new Visa Application Centres in China to support a spurt in applications by students, visitors and temporary workers.
Federal records show there were 131,830 students from China with a valid Study Permits in 2016 — a 12 per cent increase from the previous year. International students from China make up 32 per cent of all international students in Canada. While Chinese students make up the largest overall group of international students in Canada, India recently surpassed China as a source of new international students in Canada.
The new visa centres will also handle applications for Temporary Resident Visas and Work Permits. More than 500,000 visa and permit applications have been filed in China this year to travel, study or work in Canada.
These seven new visa centres will add to the existing five as Canadian universities continue to target Chinese students for their international enrolment.
Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said that his department is committed to being more efficient.
“These improvements will better serve Chinese applicants as we continue to create stronger business and personal ties between our two countries and welcome new immigrants to the Canadian family,” Hussen said as he helped open a new visa centre in Nanjing.
The current processing time for Study Permit applications filed in China is currently four weeks: faster than some countries but not all. These are the current Study Permit processing times for the top five source countries for international students in Canada:
- China: four weeks
- India: five weeks
- Korea: two weeks
- France: two weeks
- United States: five weeks
It currently takes 11 weeks to process a Study Permit in South Africa, and 19 weeks in Nigeria.
Chinese students also enjoy a high approval rate. More than 80 per cent of all Study Permit applications were approved for Chinese students in the first three months of 2017, compared to just 59 per cent for students from India.
The federal government’s push to increase visitor, visa and worker applications from China comes as the number of permanent immigrants to Canada from China is dropping.
Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism said the expansion of the visa centre network will make it easier for people in China to visit Canada.