New Challenges Faced by Chinese Students Applying for Canadian Study Permits

Chinese international students are expressing their frustration over the lengthy security checks that their study permit applications are subjected to, which has left them in a state of uncertainty and anxiety for months after being accepted into Canadian universities. This issue highlights the challenges faced by students in an increasingly complex and geopolitically tense world.

Yunze Lu, a master’s student in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Ottawa, has already completed a year of coursework online and successfully applied to the school’s co-op program. When his application was placed under security review by the Canada Border Services Agency, he was not notified until he filed an access to information request. Lu believes that the extensive duration of the security check is unnecessary and has left him with a sense of neglect.

Similarly, Xinlu Guo, who has been admitted to the University of Ottawa’s master’s program in systems engineering, has been waiting for months for his study permit. He discovered that his application is under security review and feels that this is unfair, as he has nothing to do with Canadians’ national security and is simply a regular student pursuing engineering courses in Canada.

This situation raises concerns about the transparency and efficiency of the immigration system for students. The University of Ottawa has acknowledged the difficulties faced by students from various countries and is actively working to find solutions. However, the increasing number of study permit applications from China, one of the top sources of international students, has put a strain on processing times.

The Canadian government’s response emphasized that all study permit applications are assessed equally and against the same criteria, regardless of origin. However, security screening, along with other factors, can result in longer processing times. The department also stated that processing times vary depending on the complexity of the application and the ease of verification.

Immigration lawyer Will Tao highlights the impact of worsening geopolitical relations between China and Canada on the review process. It appears that graduate students in the computer science/tech space or those with government connections are more likely to face extended security screening. Tao expressed concern about the lack of transparency and the uncertainty it creates for students, which can have a significant impact on their future plans.

As a result of these delays and frustrations, some Chinese visa applicants are resorting to legal action to compel a government decision. These challenges underscore the need for a more efficient and transparent immigration system that allows students to plan their educational journeys with confidence.


Why are Chinese students facing lengthy security checks for their study permit applications?

Chinese students, along with students from other countries, may undergo security checks as part of the study permit application process. The Canadian government states that all applications are assessed equally, and security screening is only one factor that can contribute to longer processing times.

Are Chinese students being unfairly targeted in the security review process?

The Canadian government maintains that applications from all countries are assessed impartially and against the same criteria. However, immigration lawyer Will Tao suggests that geopolitical tensions and the use of algorithms may contribute to certain applications being flagged for security review.

What is the impact of these delays on Chinese students?

Extended security checks and processing delays can lead to significant uncertainty and anxiety for Chinese students. It may jeopardize their admission offers, and they may miss opportunities to study in other countries. The lack of transparency in the review process further exacerbates these challenges.

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