African students seeing woeful visa acceptance rates in Canada

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Access Denied: Unveiling Disparities in study permit approvals for African students in Canada stressed that while Canada is a globally preferred destination, in 2018-2023 consistent disparities in study permit application acceptances were obvious and is putting up “barriers” for African students.

A table within the report revealed African students were seeing an average acceptance rate of less than 50% – while acceptance rates for students from the rest of the world never dipped below 75%.

“The disparities identified not only deprive bright minds of opportunities, but also deprives Canada of tens of thousands of talented minds and billions of dollars worth of economic contributions,” said Sasha Ramani, the head of Canada and corporate strategy at MPOWER.

It also highlighted that Francophone students from Africa were most adversely affected.

“They are disproportionately affected with approval rates lagging behind those from non-Francophone regions: 22% [on average over the six year period] versus 29%,” the report said.

It also highlighted the Student Direct Stream, which has been a boon for Indian students in particular in terms of acceptances. Postgraduate study permit approval rates for Indian and African students in 2023 show that Indians on the SDS saw 92% of their applications approved, compared with 46% who weren’t on the SDS.

African students saw an average acceptance rate of 47% in 2023, but no figures for those on the SDS were given.

“Indian students’ non-SDS approval rates are similar to African students’ rate, but African students overwhelmingly cannot take advantage of an SDS or similar paths which would greatly raise their chances of receiving a study permit,” the report explained.

The issue of visa acceptance rates for Africans has been contentious for some time. The US rejected a record amount of visas in 2023, something stakeholders were already warning of with delays and difficulties reported last year – and Navitas’ Jon Chew warned recently that the “Africa Decade” was coming, and the problem needed to be rectified as soon as possible.

The date makes clear that students from Central Africa fared worst – looking at the different African regions, study permit acceptance rates for both undergraduate and postgraduate study were below 30% in 2023, where most others were in the region of 40-50%.

“Northern Africa enjoyed the highest study permit approval rates. However, across Africa, rates still languished beneath students from other nations,” said the report.

West Africa, which includes key sending countries like Nigeria, saw the second lowest acceptance rates at the undergraduate level at around 30%, but saw the third highest acceptance levels at around 45% at the postgraduate level.

The disparities identified not only deprive bright minds of opportunities, but also deprives Canada of tens of thousands of talented minds

Sasha Ramani, MPOWER

“For postgraduate students, only those from North Africa received study permit approval rates above 50% – and even then, only slightly,” the report added.

It implored the IRCC and the Canadian government, as they are “actively rethinking the study permit program” having put in caps on the number of international study visas, to “enhance study permit adjudication for students from all countries to remedy inequities”.

This is especially crucial for students from Africa, who face higher disapproval rates as part of the current study permit program. IRCC is aware of these disparities, thus signalling a desire to shift towards more equitable study permit processing practices. However, properly addressing inequities in the system will require a whole-of- government effort with cross-sector support,” the report said.

Ramani added that MPOWER looks forward to “continuing working with Canadian policymakers to advise them on enhancements to the study permit program”, as well as with Canadian institutions who want to “diversify their student populations”.

The post African students seeing woeful visa acceptance rates in Canada appeared first on The PIE News.

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