‘I’m a little bit worried’: International students face COVID-related hurdles as fall looms – National

A potential pupil from Pakistan who might be enrolling in Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University says she’s “freaking out step-by-step” as she navigates hurdles to get her training, made far tougher by COVID-19.

Zohra Shahabuddin stated she spent sleepless nights worrying about placing collectively her paperwork for her pupil visa utility to Canada.

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Her visa was accepted final week. She might be working towards her grasp’s diploma in publishing.

“I haven’t had a chance to get excited about coming to Vancouver,” she stated with a snort.

“My mind is occupied. First it was visa, now it is flights and quarantine.”

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International students coming to Canada this yr as COVID-19 instances rise and fall in numerous components of the world face quite a few boundaries such as visa backlogs, lack of vaccinations, quarantine measures and fewer out there flights.

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A spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada stated the division has continued to simply accept and course of examine allow purposes all through the pandemic.

It up to date its web site to indicate that full examine allow purposes submitted for the fall 2021 semester by May 15 can be processed by Aug. 6. However, some purposes could take longer as a result of they’re incomplete, stated Nancy Caron in a assertion.

“Against the backdrop of the global pandemic and its related challenges, we wanted to provide a target date for those planning to begin their studies in the fall,” she stated.

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The division issued almost 100,000 examine permits within the first 4 months of 2021, up from about 66,000 throughout the identical interval final yr and about 96,000 from January to April of 2019, she stated.

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Muhammad Saad has been admitted to Centennial College in Toronto for a diploma in challenge administration, and had his first shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

He stated he’s nervous about entry to that second shot.

“It depends on supplies,” he stated. “My second dose is in mid-July. I hope vaccine will be available in Pakistan at that time.”

Several universities would require students dwelling in residence to be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 come September.

Students who’re unable to entry a vaccine earlier than transfer-in can have 14 days to take action, stated Sandy Welsh, the University of Toronto’s vice-provost of students.

Western University additionally stated those that can’t entry vaccines can have 14 days to get vaccinated on campus.

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Those who aren’t absolutely vaccinated might want to observe federal authorities necessities, stated Caron.

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To be thought of absolutely vaccinated, these getting into Canada must present they obtained each pictures or a mixture of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson not less than 14 days earlier than getting into the nation, she stated.

Shahabuddin stated which means she’ll have to seek out one other $2,000 to remain in quarantine. She plans on getting her pictures after coming to Canada.

“As an international student, I already pay a lot of money,” she stated. “This is an additional expense.”

Many universities are providing lodging for quarantine.

Welsh stated students might be supplied transportation from the airport, every day well being examine-in calls and different helps.

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Shahabuddin’s subsequent concern is falling sick whereas travelling, together with the medical bills that may observe.

They are the identical worries the Canadian Federation of Students has heard from others, stated Bipin Kumar, the worldwide pupil consultant for the group.

“At least one of the things we are hearing is whether the additional health insurance offered by private companies would cover students, in case they get sick due to travel,” he stated.

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“A lot of the travel would happen before they come to Canada, and usually the insurance is only after they enrol from 1st of September.”

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The federation is working with universities and the provincial governments to get extra particulars, he stated.

Ali Hassan, who has been accepted to York University in Toronto, stated the visa course of is transferring slowly and he could not have it in time to journey, so he’s glad the college is providing on-line courses.

“But I’m a little bit worried,” he stated, including he checks his e mail a number of instances a day for his approval.

“I’m hopeful,” Hassan added. “I’m hopeful I can come to Canada this fall.”

Quite a lot of universities might be providing a mix of on-line and in-individual courses this semester as students navigate their manner by way of hurdles attributable to the pandemic.

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Matthew Ramsey, a spokesman on the University of British Columbia, stated students can have the choice of on-line programs if they’ll’t make it to Canada this semester.

“We will be working with them on a case-by-case basis ensuring that they are able to access their courses, whether that’s online or in person.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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