How Much More Likely is an SDS Study Permit to Get Approved Than a Non-SDS Study Permit? – A Stats Look

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How Much More Likely is an SDS Study Permit to Get Approved Than a Non-SDS Study Permit? – A Stats Look

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One of the common questions we get asked by applicants (and indeed rumours fly around constantly on) is whether it makes sense to pursue IRCC’s Student Direct Stream or just go the regular route.

I recently obtained data from an IRCC requests that helps contextualize this question a bit. I decided (for interest of trying to make the data easier to understand) to just look at January to August 2022. This sample size necessarily limits our analysis, but I think it gives us a good microcosm to examine. January to August 2022 is not hindered (as much) by the COVID-19 restrictions of 2019-2020 and 2021 was for all intents and purposes a ‘straddle’ year.

This investigation is important because there have been rumours and allegations for example – that India SDS is not worth the effort (and that locally decided non-SDS cases have a higher refusal rate) or that for Philippines applicants, SDS is pretty much a non-effective process.

Without further ado, here is the raw data. Remember I did not (for purposes of visualization) break down the actual numbers of applications and did not do an ‘averaging’ because it depends on actual total numbers, which will take a bit more time to calculate with the way data was presented.

via IRCC CDO Approval % SDS/NSE by Country of Residence/Citizenship
Jan-22 Feb-22 Mar-22 Apr-22 May-22 Jun-22 Jul-22 Aug-22
India 72% 67% 69% 64% 60% 55% 57% 62%
Nigeria 61% 60% 68% 76% 91% 92% 63% 91%
China 86% 61% 58% 77% 83% 83% 76% 88%
Philippines 40% 40% 38% 50% 53% 40% 46% 48%
Vietnam 79% 82% 82% 66% 62% 74% 71% 82%
Pakistan 25% 40% 43% 40% 59% 56% 77% 67%
Approval % of Non-SDS/NSE by Country of Residence/Citizenship
via IRCC CDO Jan-22 Feb-22 Mar-22 Apr-22 May-22 Jun-22 Jul-22 Aug-22
India 12% 25% 24% 20% 36% 38% 35% 42%
Nigeria 44% 34% 26% 30% 31% 34% 69% 63%
China 74% 48% 72% 78% 82% 84% 90% 82%
Philippines 57% 58% 55% 82% 75% 84% 77% 76%
Vietnam 58% 51% 59% 79% 72% 61% 81% 55%
Pakistan 24% 17% 44% 17% 36% 48% 37% 38%

I have a few big takeaways:

  1. Philippines SDS is the only SDS that has an approval rate that is significantly and consistently below Non-SDS. LJ Dangzalan has been talking about this a ton, but numbers back this up;
  2. The India Non-SDS rumour appears just that. It may be select cases or ‘overselling’ local services but numbers don’t back that up;
  3. Pakistan SDS makes a big difference (and the last four months) show it; and
  4. The Nigerian student advocacy (and Nigerian Student Express) is trending well.


Anything else interesting you can gather from the data that catches your eye?


About Us

Will Tao is an Award-Winning Canadian Immigration and Refugee Lawyer, Writer, and Policy Advisor based in Vancouver. Vancouver Immigration Blog is a public legal resource and social commentary.

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