Why are Canadian student visas refused? It’s a question recruiting partners often ask us. Historically, individual experiences have shaped our industry’s understanding of why study permits are refused. In today’s, we can share the numbers behind these stories.
Data recently released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) tracks all the reasons a study permit was refused from 2019 to 2021.
Let’s start by looking at the rate at which Canadian study permits are refused.
What is the Canadian student visa approval rate?
After hovering in the mid to high 60s for three years, study permit approval rates dropped to 60% in 2019. Falling rates for Vietnamese and Iranian students were largely to blame.
Fees have been further reduced in 2020 as pandemic-related office closures have made it increasingly difficult for international students to obtain the necessary documentation for study permit approval.
With the world reopening in 2021, approval rates have risen again to 60%. And while they’ve dipped slightly in 2022, ApplyBoard’s analysis found that pass rates are typically lowest at the beginning of the year. We expect rates to settle around 60% by the end of 2022, in line with 2021.
Why are Canadian student visas refused?
Even with pass rates returning to their 2020 lows, two in five students fail to get their study permit approved. That’s a lot of students: more than 220,000 in 2021 alone. New IRCC data sheds light on why these students were rejected.
IRCC is not satisfied with the applicant leaving Canada at the end of their stay
For seven of the top 12 reasons for denial from 2019-2021, each cited more than 10,000 times,4 the IRCC agent was dissatisfied with the applicant leaving Canada at the end of their stay.
The criteria cited for this reason were the following:
- The purpose of the applicant’s visit.
- The personal assets and financial situation of the applicant.
- The applicant’s family ties to Canada and their country of residence.
- Limited employment prospects in the applicant’s country of residence.
- Applicant’s current employment status.
- Applicant’s travel history.
- The immigration status of the applicant.
By far the most cited basis was the purpose of the applicant’s visit. This has been cited over 380,000 times between 2019 and 2021, including 175,000 times in 2021.
77% of refused study permits between 2019 and 2021 were refused due, at least in part, to a failure to convince IRCC that the purpose of the applicant’s visit was to study.
A much smaller, but still significant, 26% of study permit denials were caused by IRCC concerns about personal assets and financial situation. 19% of denials were based on the applicant’s family ties to Canada and their country of residence.
13% were based on IRCC’s assessment that there were limited employment prospects in the applicant’s country of residence.
How to improve your chances of being approved for a Canadian student visa
To avoid these common application mistakes, we recommend that applicants provide a clear and succinct study plan that outlines the following:
- Why you chose your specific program and institution
- What are your next career plans?
- Why you are eligible and suitable for the intended course
It is critical to demonstrate that the program and institution you have chosen is a natural next step for you on your educational journey based on the academic subjects you have studied in the past and the grades you have earned.
To alleviate IRCC’s concerns that you will not return to your home country after studying in Canada, you must also show how the course will benefit you upon your return to your home country.
In addition, it is important to show that you and your family are established in your place of residence and have a substantial reason for returning. Ties to your country of origin can range from familial to social and professional.
IRCC is not satisfied that the applicant has sufficient financial resources
The second main group of reasons for the denial of Canadian study permits? Financial. For five of the top 12 reasons for rejection from 2019 to 2021, each cited more than 10,000 times, IRCC was not satisfied that the applicant had sufficient financial resources to study in Canada
In 26% of the refusal cases, the IRCC was not satisfied that the applicant left Canada at the end of their stay based on their personal assets and financial situation.
Smaller proportions of applicants were rejected because the IRCC was not satisfied that they had sufficient funds to pay for their tuition (10%), the costs of travel to and from Canada (6%), or the costs of living in Canada (2%). . Canada as set forth in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, s. 220.
Proof of financial support is critical
In other words, proof of financial support is critical to a successful study permit application. Visa officers are primarily looking for easily verifiable funds for tuition and living expenses.
It recommends that the applicant provide a minimum of six months of bank statements showing their withdrawal and deposit history.
Property, jewelry, and other investments are not considered proof of funds, although they may be used to prove the applicant’s establishment or as proof of assets.
There are several types of documents that you can use to prove your financial support, but two more reliable ones are the Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).5 A GIC can prove to the IRCC that you have the financial means to support yourself while you study in Canada.
The most common reasons for denial of a study permit are insufficient financial resources and not convincing the IRCC that the purpose of your visit is, in fact, to study.
To avoid the disappointment and frustration of being denied a study permit, it’s critical to craft a strong statement of purpose that shows a clear and natural progression in your studies and emphasizes your ties to your home country.
It is also vital to show adequate financial support, either through a minimum of six months of bank statements or a digitally verified GIC.