Common Reasons for Study Permit Refusals

International students from the Philippines who wish to study in Canada need a study permit before being admitted to the country. A study permit or commonly known as a student visa in the Philippines, and like any other visa can be either approved or refused. Study permit applications, are already a meticulous and thorough process and it can get more challenging when you meet a refusal.  

When your application for a study permit is denied, you will receive a letter from the Canadian immigration officer stating the reasons for denying your application. Getting a refusal may sound dreadful and can impede your study plans, but if you can address your grounds for refusals effectively, getting a favorable result on your application is attainable. 

According to the IRCC website, they’ll send you a letter explaining why you were refused. These are the common reasons for study permit refusals: 

[Canada] may refuse your application if you didn’t

  • show proof that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in Canada
  • pass your medical exam, if you needed to get one
  • convince the visa officer that your main purpose in Canada is to study or
  • convince the visa officer that you’ll leave Canada at the end of your study period

If you have questions about why you were refused, you may request a GCMS notes.

While there are only 4 possible reasons for study permit denial stated by the IRCC on their website, in reality, this is not the case. Study permit applicants encounter other grounds for denial. 

Here are the top 5 common reasons why a study permit is refused according to applicants and how to address them: 

  1. Proof of funds

Contrary to popular belief, having a large sum of money as proof of funds does not give you a 100% approval guarantee. The keyword here is “sufficient.” Do you have enough funds to cover your tuition and living expenses as an international student in Canada without having to work?

How to address it: The IRCC stipulates that you must have enough funds to cover at least your first year of tuition at the time of application plus your living expenses and family members accompanying you. Make sure to meet these basic requirements before applying for a study permit to have better chances of approval. You must also make sure that you can explain the source of your funds, otherwise, it may also be questionable. The majority of students applying for a study permit in Canada are between the ages of 20-30 years old, so it is understood that they are still building their own wealth and are often sponsored by their parents or relatives. 

  1. Dual intent

Are you really coming to Canada to study? Remember that your main purpose is to study in Canada and that you will go back to your home country after studying, so you must prove that you have the intention to go home after you’re legally permitted stay in the country. However this does not mean that you cannot work and stay in Canada because you can certainly do so.  There are a lot of government supported programs that helps international students become permanent residents after graduating such as post graduate work permit, graduate retention program, and provincial nominee program. A study visa is a temporary residence permit, thus you must oblige to its expiration. 

How to address it: While all these options are available, the IRCC needs to make sure that your intention for the study permit application is to genuinely study in the country and that you will abide according to your permissible stay. Be objective, list certain reasons that anchors you back to your home country that it is inevitable that you will go back once your study permit is done. Such reasons are family ties in your country, assets, a job offer waiting for you after graduating etc.

  1. Program Choice

IRCC may refuse your application if your program choice and/or degree is not made clear to them. For example, someone who is working as a nurse in the Philippines suddenly wants to study culinary in Canada may appear questionable as the two profession does not really align. A fresh graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the Philippines and wants to take another Bachelor’s degree program in Canada in the same field of studies can also seem vague and redundant.

How to address it: You must thoroughly explain your intentions of why you chose the program you are pursuing in a way that the visa officer can understand your personal goals. Your objectives must be crystal clear and must be sensible to get better chances. For example, you want to change careers and that education is the only plausible way to make it happen, or that the job market for the recent education you finished is highly competitive and that additional education is required. 

  1. Job prospects in your home country

The visa officer can refuse your application if they see that your profession’s job prospect in your home country is limited. 

How to address it: You must send your current employment letter, plus a job offer waiting for you after completing your education in Canada to prove that you have a secured job in your home country. 

For applicants who are currently unemployed, you can state that getting this education can give you a great advantage and help you qualify for jobs in a highly competitive professional world.

  1. Ties to your home country

Insufficient home ties to your home country can also affect your study permit application. The visa officer may doubt your intentions to return home after your studies if you do not have strong home ties to go back to.

How to address it: Usually, an applicant who is married and have established their own family is enough to show strong home ties. Assets such as real estate and businesses under the applicant’s name are also examples of home ties. Young applicants who are single and never been married can mention their immediate family as an important reason that will urge them to go back after studying.

Please bear in mind that these are only a few of the reasons that a study permit can be refused. There are thousands of international students that apply every year to study in Canada . Each application is unique and refusals must be addressed accordingly. Remember, a refusal is not the end of the road, rather just a hitch that can cause delay. Your fate can change depending on how you handle the refusal.
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