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Visa policies have been subject to a lot of change over the past two years. The reopening of borders after the pandemic has caused an influx of visa applications to countries. The US and Canada have altered their visa policies to clear backlog visa applications and resume the inflow of international students and working professionals in the country. Recently, visa policies have also been affected by the Russia-Ukraine tensions. Hampered supply chains and raised the need for a haven for refugees have directed visa policy decisions. If you plan to move to the US, UK, or Canada soon, here are the latest visa updates for the three countries.
The Minister-counselor for consular affairs at the US embassy in Delhi recently made announcements regarding different categories of non-immigrant visas. His first update was for the F-1 student visa applicants from India. This states first-time interview takers had high chances of securing visa approval this year. However, second or third-time interview takers were likely to be rejected this year. This is because the US would like to give all fresh applicants a better chance at studying in the country.
The student visa interviews began late last year because of the COVID-Delta wave. Many students during this time had already received their I-20 documents from US universities but were waiting for visa interviews. The official also reported that the country had the highest issuance rate of 62,000 visas last year. They intend to start student interviews in mid-May this year and hope to cross last year’s number.
Students who have been refused the US student visa over three times or those rejected in Spring this year and who were planning to apply for Summer again are unlikely to get any interview slots this year.
Another one of the latest visa updates for the US is the opening up of visa interviews and dropbox (categories that are exempt from interviews) slots across India for H and L visa categories. Interview slots for B-1 ad B-2 visitor visa applicants will open on September 1st.
The UK visas and immigration offices are currently prioritizing the Ukraine Family Scheme applications. As a result, UKVI has temporarily suspended priority and super-priority services for the new study, work, and family applications.
The visa policy in Canada has undergone major changes in the past few weeks. Canada’s Immigration Minister has announced that Express Entry invitations under federal high-skilled streams will resume beginning of July.
Express Entry is an application management system for the following immigration programs in Canada – the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). The Express Entry is a point-based system in which eligible candidates receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for human capital factors such as their age, language skills, work experience, etc.
Another major update is the open work permit extension for holders of a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Starting summer 2022, former international students living in Canada holding a PGWP that expires between January and December 2022 will be eligible for an open work permit for up to 18 months. The authorities also assure that the development of a new process that expedites and streamlines these policy changes is underway, and more updates will follow.
Latest visa updates for permanent residence applicants in Canada
The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that the fees for permanent residence applications will increase. The revised fee structure will take effect from April 30.
New measures are also in effect for those who applied for permanent residence last year through the Temporary Resident (TR) and Permanent Resident (PR) programs. The new policy for TR and PR applicants does not require them to be in Canada while their applications are in process. Also, family members of principal applicants included in the applicant’s permanent residence application will be eligible for an open work permit.
Regarding announcements on April 1, vaccinated travelers will no longer require a COVID-19 test to enter Canada. This is a significant change in border-related measures in Canada. However, travelers may be tested randomly upon arriving in Canada.
Keeping abreast with visa policies is imperative if you plan to move abroad for your higher education. The US, UK, and Canada are among the most preferred countries for students looking for international education and prospects. Therefore, their visa policies are subject to change depending on their foreign and economic policies. You can take help from study abroad counselors to help you navigate these changes and realize your study abroad dream.
Feel free to reach out to us regarding any assistance in your study abroad journey.
Liked this blog? Read 7 visa-free countries for Indians who want to study abroad.