If you are an international student studying in Canada then this is definitely great news for you as the Canadian government are set to open its borders to all her international students effective from the 20th of October 2020.
I’m pretty sure you are overjoyed at this fantastic piece of news right! I would be if I am in your shoes what with the lockdown of schools and borders due to the covid -19 scourge. Wondering how true this news is, well there is a little catch. You will be allowed to enter Canada starting from the said date only when your college or University has a territorial government approved covid-19 readiness plan.
Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino announced on Friday the 2nd of October 2020 through his Twitter handle that the country would re-open its borders to international students as of 20 October 2020. Effective that date, students may enter Canada if they are attending a designated learning institution (DLI) that has been identified by their provincial or territorial government as having a COVID-19 readiness plan in place. (A DLI is an institution or school that has been approved by the Canadian government to admit and welcome students).
The Designated Learning Institutions are likely to send the details of their readiness plan to the territorial or provincial government, who monitors Canada’s education system.
What does this readiness plan include?
The Canadian government has stipulated what should be there in the readiness plan. Some of the points that must be there in the plan are:
- The plan should specify how institutions are planning to notify international students about travel and health requirements before entering the country
- The institutions must outline how they are planning to maintain the compulsory 14-day quarantine period plans. They must mention the various steps that guide international students. They must also outline how they will provide groceries and medicines during the quarantine period.
- The institutions are also to lay down the precautionary measures which will be taken to protect health and ensure safety of students. They should also explain how they are going to take care of the students who are COVID-19 positive.
Eligibility criteria/requirements for international students coming back to Canada
There are strict eligibility criteria/requirements for the international students who want to enter Canada after the new measure comes into effect.
- International students should be asymptomatic i.e show no signs or symptoms of the covid-19 virus
- They have to submit all the necessary documents regarding the travel permit.
- Once students cross the border, they have to explain the reason behind their visit to Canada. Students need to show that they are traveling for an important cause. It is only then the immigrant officers allow them to enter the country.
- What about the tourists? Well, they have to show papers and prove their purpose of visit. Their goal of the visit is discretionary or optional, which is tourism. They have to offer the requisite documents to the officers.
IRCC’S safety measures requirements
As an international student you have to be aware of the requirements regarding IRCC’s safety measures. Immigration, refugees, citizenship Canada, also known as IRCC, will soon declare the approved DLIs list.
The IRCC has clearly stated that the new guideline is applicable for all international students. It doesn’t matter when they get the permit or where they stay now. They have to abide by all the guidelines. That is why the immigration department has recommended travelers to avoid making any travel plans until they have fulfilled the eligibility criteria and received all other necessary authorizations. The safety measures include
- All travellers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.
- All travellers must provide additional arrival details after entry to Canada, including contact details and self assessments during quarantine, and all are recommended to provide such updates via the ArriveCan app.
- Those arriving in Canada by air must pass a pre-boarding health check conducted by their airline. IRCC adds that, “Upon arrival in Canada, a traveller’s health and ability to quarantine will be assessed before they leave the port of entry.”
- Any traveller showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival at a port of entry will not be allowed to enter Canada.
Are immediate family members allowed to travel alongside their children?
The immediate family members can come with international students.But the reason behind the visit to Canada must be important. Family members have to prove that they are coming to the country out of necessity. They want to help their kids settle in the country for the study program especially for high school students and undergraduates.This includes arranging accommodation for the students and taking care of the other pressing issues.
The long awaited solution is here- why take this initiative now?
Coming as it did after weeks of lobbying, planning, and preparation on the part of Canada’s international educators, the news of the easing of border restrictions for international students spread quickly throughout the Canadian system bringing joy to international students who are on the receiving end. The Canadian government has finally taken this initiative after receiving countless requests from international students.
They have finally decided to open open their borders for international students to enter the country since they are suffering a lot due to travel restrictions. Online tuitions are an option but do not help international students. Time differences and poor Internet connection are creating severe disruptions and study problems.
Moreover, some universities and colleges are not even offering remote learning options to international students. That is probably why the Canadian government has taken this bold step. Canada has already accepted and approved 56000 study permit applications in the first stage of this measure.
The Canadian government took an excellent initiative in opening it’s borders to international students while still observing proper safety measures to ensure there is no spread of the virus.
Meanwhile some countries like Germany are still yet to do same even though there have been countless appeals to embassies by their foreign students. Let us hope that all countries follow what Canada is doing. International students should not suffer anymore than they have to. Congratulations! To all international students studying in Canada. Success in your studies and future endeavors. Stay safe.