Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 5, 2018. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa makes it easier for students from Morocco and Senegal to study in Canada

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In an effort to attract more French-speaking students and future skilled immigrants to Canada, the federal government is extending a program designed to expedite study permit applications to international students from Morocco and Senegal.

As of Sept. 9, students from Senegal and Morocco will be able to access the Student Direct Stream (SDS), an expedited study permit processing program for those who are applying for post-secondary studies at designated Canadian schools, officials announced Friday.

The SDS program is already open to applicants from China, India, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam.

“Canada’s diverse, welcoming society, high-quality educational institutions and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice for students from around the world,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement.

“In expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we’re enhancing the tremendous cultural, social and economic benefits that international students provide.”

Expanding the SDS program to include prospective students from Senegal and Morocco supports the Liberal government’s Francophone Immigration Strategy to encourage more young French speakers to choose to study in Canada, Hussen said.

According to an OECD report released earlier this month, Canada is a top destination for students seeking both a high-quality international education and employment in their field of study once they graduate.

With Canadian education credentials and skilled work experience in Canada, former international students are well positioned for success in applying for permanent residence through Express Entry, an online system to manage applications for permanent residence, Hussen said.

In addition, since 2017, Express Entry candidates with strong French skills have been able to earn additional ranking points in their application process, the minister added.

This provides more opportunity for them to successfully transition to permanent residence and contribute to the vitality and growth of Francophone communities outside of Quebec, Hussen said.

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