A prospective student from Pakistan who will enroll at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver said that she was “frightened step by step” because she overcame obstacles to get an education, and COVID-19 made her more difficult.

Zohra Shahabuddin said that she could not sleep all night and was worried about how to organize her Canadian student visa application documents.

Her visa was approved last week. She will work hard to study for a master’s degree in publishing.

“I have no chance to be excited about coming to Vancouver,” she said with a smile.

“My mind is very busy. First is the visa, now it is the flight and isolation.”

With the ups and downs of COVID-19 cases around the world, international students coming to Canada this year are facing many obstacles, such as a backlog of visas, insufficient vaccinations, quarantine measures, and fewer available flights.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said the department continued to accept and process study permit applications throughout the pandemic.

It has updated its website to show that complete study permit applications for the fall semester of 2021 submitted before May 15 will be processed by August 6. However, spokesperson Nancy Caron said in a statement that some applications may take longer due to incompleteness.

“In the context of the global pandemic and its related challenges, we want to provide a target date for those who plan to start learning in the fall,” she said.

She said that the department issued nearly 100,000 study permits in the first four months of 2021, up from approximately 66,000 in the same period last year and approximately 96,000 from January to April 2019.

Muhammad Saad has been admitted to Centennial College in Toronto, obtained a diploma in project management, and received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the first time.

He said he was worried about getting a second shot.

“It depends on supply,” he said. “My second dose is in mid-July. I hope that the vaccine will be available in Pakistan by then.”

At some universities, students who cannot be vaccinated before moving in will have 14 days to vaccinate. (Ben Nilms/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Several universities will require students who live on campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September.

Sandy Welsh, the deputy dean of students at the University of Toronto, said that students who cannot be vaccinated before moving in will have 14 days to get vaccinated.

Western University also stated that those who cannot be vaccinated will have 14 days to vaccinate on campus.

Caron said that those who have not been fully vaccinated need to comply with federal requirements.

She added that to be considered fully vaccinated, people entering Canada must prove that they have received both vaccines at least 14 days before entering the country, or have received both Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca vaccines or one dose at the same time. Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Shahabuddin said this means she must find another $2,000 to continue the quarantine. She plans to have the injection after coming to Canada.

“As an international student, I have paid a lot of money,” she said, “this is an extra fee.”

Many universities provide isolated accommodation.

Welsh said students will receive airport transfers, daily health check calls and other support.

Shahabuddin’s next worry is illness while traveling and the medical expenses that come with it.

Bipin Kumar, the organization’s international student representative, said the Canadian Student Federation heard the same concerns from others.

“At least one thing we have heard is whether the additional health insurance provided by private companies will cover students in case they get sick due to travel,” he said.

“A lot of trips took place before they came to Canada, and usually the insurance was after they started registering on September 1.”

He said the federation is working with universities and the provincial government to obtain more details.

Ali Hassan, who has been admitted to York University in Toronto, said that the visa process is progressing slowly and he may not have time to travel, so he is very happy that the university offers online courses.

“But I’m a little worried,” he said, adding that he checks his email several times a day to get his approval.

“I am hopeful,” Hassan added, “I hope I can come to Canada this fall.”

This semester, many universities will offer courses that combine online courses and face-to-face courses, as students have to overcome obstacles caused by the pandemic.

Matthew Ramsey, director of media relations at the University of British Columbia, said that if students cannot travel to Canada this semester, they can choose online courses.

“We will work with them on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they can access their courses, whether online or face-to-face.”


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