Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

Outrage as the UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules

The UK government has caused outrage with its decision to exclude Indian students from a new list of countries considered “low risk” in order to facilitate an easier visa application process to UK universities.

In changes to its immigration policy tabled in Parliament yesterday, the UK Home Office announced a relaxation of the Tier 4 visa category for overseas students from around 25 countries.

On a list already covering countries like the US, Canada and New Zealand, the Home Office has added on the likes of China, Bahrain and Serbia as countries from where students would face reduced checks on educational, financial and English language skill requirements to study at British universities.

The changes, which come into effect on July 6, aim to make it easier for international students to come to study in the UK.

However, India has been left out of this new expanded list, which means Indian students applying for similar courses will continue to face rigorous checks and documentary requirements.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Indian-origin entrepreneur and President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), described the move as an “insult” to India and another example of Britain’s “economically illiterate and hostile attitude to immigration”.

“I consider this another kick in the teeth for India… This sends entirely the wrong message to India, to exclude it from these Tier 4 measures. The government has simply got it wrong,” said Bilimoria, while welcoming the overall visa relaxation measures introduced by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer and founding-chair of UK India Business Council (UKIBC), added, “It is completely hypocritical that this is announced at the same time that Britain is talking about doing a post-Brexit free trade agreement (FTA) with India. If this is the way they treat India, they can dream on about an FTA with India”.

“India has always been one of Britain’s closest allies and an emerging global economic superpower. Excluding India from this list is myopically short-sighted and is damaging what has always been a special relationship between our countries,” he said.

The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK also expressed disappointment at India’s exclusion from the list, which it said effectively categorises Indian students as “high risk”. The representative body for Indian students in the UK said it was unfair that Indian students should be treated differently from Chinese or other nationals on the list.

“It is important to note that today’s announcement makes no change to the process of application for Indian students, but it is the perception of this message among Indian students that worries us. And, this raises another question – will China continue to get even more favorable actions while India gets the rhetoric,” questioned Sanam Arora, president of NISAU UK.

According to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) data, India is among the top three countries from where overseas students come in to study at UK universities, after China and the US. While Indian students registered a hike of 30 percent to hit 15,171 Tier 4 visas last year, the numbers remain a far cry from around 30,000 six years ago.

The latest development will add to growing concern within Indian government circles, given that ministers and diplomats have repeatedly highlighted the need for a more welcoming immigration regime for Indian students.

Last week, Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Y K Sinha, held a meeting with the UK’s minister for universities, Sam Gyimah, during which he once again raised the issue of “smoother and greater student and faculty mobility between the two countries”.

“It is unfortunate that in the last six years we have seen a steep drop (in Indian student numbers). What should be troubling universities here is that Indian students are now going in much greater numbers to the US, Australia – even France and Germany,” Sinha has said in the past.

The UK Home Office said in order to make it easier for students to come and study in the UK’s world-leading education sector; it has expanded the list of countries from which students will be able to benefit from a streamlined application process.

“Students from an additional 11 countries, including China, will be able to provide a reduced level of documentation when applying for their Tier 4 visa,” the Home Office statement notes.

On being asked why India had been omitted from this expanded list, a spokesperson said, “We welcome Indian students who want to come to the UK to study at our world-leading educational institutions. We issue more visas to students from India than any other country except China and the USA.”

The Home Office stressed that 90 percent of Indian students who apply for a UK visa get one, a figure up from 86 percent in 2014 and 83 percent the year before that.

It added, “In addition, the proportion of Indian students coming to study in the UK at a university has increased from around 50 percent in 2010 to around 90 percent in 2016. Indian student visa applications are up 30 percent on last year. We continue to have regular discussions with the Indian government on a range of issues including on visas and UK immigration policy,” it said.

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BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

BC PNP invites Skills immigration and Express Entry BC candidates

A total of 405 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination were issued this week to candidates under the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC streams of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program in an invitation round that took place on August 8.

If a candidate obtains a successful nomination under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Express Entry BC: Skilled Worker and Express Entry BC: International Graduate categories, he or she will receive an additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) toward their Express Entry profile.

The portion of candidates invited to apply for a British Columbia provincial nomination under the BC PNP Skills Immigration Stream categories will have their applications for Canadian permanent residence processed outside the Express Entry system.

Generally, candidates applying for immigration under the BC PNP require an indeterminate, full-time job offer from an employer in the province. However, candidates applying under the  BC PNP Tech Pilot with job offers in one of the 29 occupations are required to have a job offer that lasts for at least one year (365 days).

Individuals interested in applying for immigration to Canada under the Skills Immigration must first create an online profile with using the BC PNP’s online system and submit a complete registration form. Applicants’ profiles are then assessed and are assigned a score based on various factors, such as education, work experience and other factors.

The minimum scores for each category in the August 8 draw were as follows:

Date of draw BC PNP Category Minimum Score Required Number of ITAs Issued
August 8, 2018 EEBC – Skilled Worker 87 405
EEBC – International Graduate 91
SI – Skilled Worker 82
SI – International Graduate 91
SI – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled 65

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, is a hub of cultural diversity and economic growth.

Home to the country’s third-largest city, Vancouver, British Columbia is also one of the most diverse provinces in all of Canada. British Columbia’s economy focuses on a strong natural resources sector, with an emphasis on forestry and mining. Its natural environment, with expansive forests and a unique coastal climate, is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Canada, and indeed the world.

The BC PNP is British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program. Through this program, prospective immigrants with the skills and experience targeted by the province may receive a British Columbia Provincial Nomination Certificate, which will allow that foreign national to apply for Canadian permanent residence with processing times that are faster than other Canadian immigration classes.

Posted in Alberta, Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Canada, Canada PNP, Dependent Visa, Express Entry, Immigration, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Path in Canada’s Immigration Processing System

Faster and Forward-Looking – A New Path in Canada’s Immigration Processing System

A New Path in Canada’s Immigration Processing System

A New Path in Canada’s Immigration Processing System

A New Path in Canada’s Immigration Processing System

New system applies to some Canadian permanent applications received starting July 31, 2018

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will now provide some Canadian permanent residence applicants with processing times that are forward-looking, rather than estimations based on historical data.

The introduction of projected times will replace historical processing times for some applications received on or after July 31, 2018.

In a press release published on August 9, 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the new projected processing times system will apply to the following types of permanent residence applications:

  • Sponsorship of Parents and Grandparents;
  • Provincial Nominee (Non-Express Entry);
  • Quebec Skilled Workers;
  • Start-Up Visa; and
  • Humanitarian and Compassionate cases.

Projected processing time will show prospective applicants to these programs how long their applications are expected to take (under normal conditions), specific to the day they apply. IRCC has committed to updating processing times on a monthly basis.

Commenting about the new projected processing time method, Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, said, “this update is an important one to ensure our immigration processing times are as accurate as possible and to help clients better prepare to move to Canada if their application is approved.”

The table below reflects processing times for future applicants who not yet applied:

Application type Processing time
Sponsorship of Parents and Grandparents 20 to 24 months
Provincial Nominee (Non-Express Entry) 15 to 19 months
Quebec Skilled Workers 15 to 17 months
Start-Up Visa 12 to 16 months
Humanitarian and compassionate cases 22 to 36 months

*The processing times above were checked on August 10, 2018.

Projected vs. Historical processing time

Prior to this change, IRCC forecasted all Canadian permanent residence application processing times based on historical data. This practice meant that processing times were determined by how long it took IRCC to process 80 percent of applications in the past year.

The new projected processing time measurement will depend on the current number of applications waiting to be processed and how quickly IRCC expects to process 80 percent of pending applications.

An applicant’s processing time generally starts the day IRCC receives a complete application and ends when a decision is made.

If an application is submitted by mail, the processing time starts when the application arrives in the IRCC mailroom. If an application is made online or in-person at an approved service point, it starts when the application is submitted to the Immigration Officer.

Reducing processing times and eliminating backlogs

With the new processing time method, IRCC aims to better serve permanent residence clients, as well as attending to temporary resident applicants looking to visit, work, or study in Canada.

IRCC aims to continue finding new innovative ways to process applications, maintain good customer service and meet allocated admission targets based on the multi-year immigration levels plan.

In most cases, processing times depend on:

  1. the type of application submitted;
  2. if the application is complete;
  3. how quickly IRCC expects to process applications in the system;
  4. how easily applicants’ information can be verified;
  5. how long applicants take to respond to any requests or concerns; and
  6. Other factors.

“This move by the Government of Canada reflects the commitment to transparency and faster processing of immigration applications,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.

“With a clearer picture on processing times, future applicants who have families here and are ready to start their life in Canada can enjoy a promising beginning.”

Posted in British Columbia, Canada, Canada Open Work Permit, Canada PNP, Dependent Visa, Express Entry, Immigration, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Study Abroad, Toronto, Tourist Visa, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment