27 September 2022

By Rehan Piracha


Responding to a high rejection rate of international student visas, Canada’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour has called on Pakistani students to opt for the student direct stream programme when applying for admissions to universities in Canada. 

The Canadian ambassador said the higher rejection rate of international student visas might be linked with the COVID pandemic during which students were not allowed to go to Canada. However, Gilmour pointed out that unfortunately, there were a lot of people that were taking advantage of Pakistani students.

“We see a tremendously high number of fraudulent applications,” Canada’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour said in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Munizae Jahangir on Aaj TV’s Spotlight show. 

Gilmore said the Canadian government welcomed qualified Pakistani students to study in Canada.

“So the onus is on the Pakistani student who is applying to demonstrate that they have met the necessary conditions: they’ve been accepted to a registered programme; that they have the necessary financial means to support themselves; and that they have demonstrated that they are studying a program that is relevant to their onward professional interest,” she said.  

The Canadian ambassador noted that most student visa applications that come in through regular processing did not contain necessarily the information necessary to demonstrate that the above conditions had been met. 

Gilmore said the Canadian government was encouraging students from select countries including Pakistan, to take advantage of the faster processing Student Direct Stream programme established in the summer of 2019. Student visa applicants from Antigua and Barbuda,

Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam can opt for faster processing through the student direct stream.  

Gilmore said the applicants could get all information for applying for their visa from the student direct stream website. “The students can deposit a general investment certificate, which is a sum of money through a bank in Pakistan that’s only available to the student in Canada, which demonstrates their financial bona fides,” she explained. 

“The visa processing is much more straightforward and usually it’s a 20-day turnaround,” she added. The Canadian ambassador pointed out that the student direct stream programme had made a huge difference in terms of getting qualified students from eligible countries into Canadian schools.


Women may get employment in the Reko Diq project

Speaking with reference to the Reko Dik project, Gilmour also said that the Canadian mining company Barrick would likely encourage the employment of the local population, including women.  

Interestingly, Gilmour pointed out that women have been employed in Barrick mining projects around the world, including Saudia Arabia. “Barrick has trained women to operate the large mining trucks in these projects there,” she added. The Candian envoy said she was told that the women were employed because they had better attention to detail, better skills, and were more patient. “The women did much better moving these incredibly complex pieces of machinery,” she added.


Canada awaiting a needs assessment for floods assistance

Meanwhile, the Canadian High Commissioner also clarified that it was wrong to think that her government was not providing enough assistance to Pakistan in the wake of the devasting floods. It would come of aid as it had done at the time of the 2010 floods. 

“The Canadian govt will be doing what we did in the 2010 floods, our funds will match the need as they are identified,” Gilmore said. She said the emergency appeal launched by the United Nations was about Canadian $13 million, adding that the Canadian assistance would be based on the assessment that Pakistan and the UN agencies make about the damages and cost of rehabilitation of flood victims when they put together another appeal to the international community. 

“It is really important to get this needs-assessment done so not just spending money we will spend money where it’s most needed and it has the greatest impact,” Gilmour said. 



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