The commercial flight ban between India and Canada has left many people, especially students, in distress as they wait to gain entry through Canada’s borders.
Canada has banned all direct commercial passenger flights from India due to the second wave of COVID-19 and an increasing number of cases of the Delta variant.
“It was both physically and mentally disturbing to not be able to travel even when I have my visa and study permit,” said Raida Khan, a Centennial College students currently pursuing her studies online.
Not only have the closed borders affected the students who have already attained their student permit, but it has also sloswed it down, leaving students to wonder about their future.
“My visa was rejected weeks before my semester started,” said Habeeba Hussain, a student who has applied for a student permit in Canada. “It took so long for it to process, leaving me wondering what the outcome would be and causing me high levels of anxiety.”
Canada has said the ban would be lifted tentatively but students have been desperate to gain entry into Canada. These desperate attempts by students have given birth to new routes to Canadian borders from around the world.
“Although travel agents have given us new indirect routes to Canada, the cost of these tickets are ridiculous which makes it harder for students from weak financial backgrounds to afford them,” said Mohammed Anas, who has recently traveled to Canada on a student permit. “The estimated cost of a one-way ticket to Canada through a third country including all costs of accommodations is around $5,000.”
The ban has also affected the way students pursue their education. Khan said her grades are suffering due to the travel ban immensely. Being an ECE student, she is required to complete field placements in her second, third, and fourth semesters.
She has already missed her field placement from her second semester and her grades have been put on hold until she arrives in Canada and is physically able to complete the required field placement.
She is in the third semester now, and very close to the placement dates, and still unable to travel due to the travel ban and is extremely worried about her academic progress.
Staying up all night
“Even though my professors and the college are very supportive and accommodating, there is only so much that they can do,” she said. “The bottom line remains that without completing my field placement, I will not be able to graduate in time.”
The huge difference in time zone requires students to stay up throughout the night in order to attend classes online. More often than not, this ends up taking a toll on their health, adding to the stress and anxiety arising from the overall situation.
The Canadian government has continuously extended the ban on direct flights for the past six months but is tentatively planning to lift it on Sept. 21.