Canada is the world’s third-leading destination for international students, with a total of 642,000 foreign students in the country.
With the data released by the Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the year 2019 sees a major growth of 13 percent in comparison to the previous year for Canada’s international student population growth. This marks another year with double-digit growth.
Canada’s International Student Growth
In the decade 2010 – 2020, Canada has seen tripled international student growth. This is majorly fueled by the rise of the middle-class population, which in turn leads to more students looking to pursue educational, and in some cases, immigration opportunities overseas. To sustain their growth financially, Canada’s education institution like colleges and universities needs to recruit more international students. Canada’s own population has grown by 11 percent, but the age group of 18-24 has seen only growth of 4 percent. As such, these institutions need more revenues from international students to sustain their operating expenses.
Canada’s Provincial Distribution 2019
Looking at the statistics of 2019 for international students, the province of Ontario has been the largest beneficiary. It hosted around 48 percent of Canada’s international student population. Following table compares the data from the year 2018 to the year 2019 on the International students by the respective provinces:
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|Prince Edward Island
|Province/Territory not stated
Indians comprise 56 percent of Canada’s foreign students
Indian makes up a total of one-third of the total of Canada’s foreign students. This can mainly be attributed to a large number of middle-class families in India, with the high level of English-proficiency, making a large number of students to be eligible for a program that is offered by the Canadian educational institutions. This has led to quadrupled growth for Indian students’ population over the past five years. Indian students are also able to make full use of the federal government’s Student Direct stream, which fast-tracks the study permit of applicants coming from different countries like India, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Pakistan, Senegal, and Morocco.
Study permits holders on December 31st by country of citizenship, 2015-2019
|Country of Citizenship
|China, People’s Republic of
|Korea, Republic of
|United States of America
|Hong Kong SAR
|Total Unique Persons
Talking about the countries that have outranked Canada, they are the United States and Australia. The US ranks first with an estimated 1.1 million international students, as the country boasts many of the world’s best universities, which serves as a major magnet for the international students.
Australia ranks second with its nearly 700,000 international students.
Major Reasons that makes Canada attractive to foreign students
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), major reasons for foreign/international students to choose Canada is because of the country’s strong quality of education, as well as the reputation as a multicultural and tolerant society. Based on the survey conducted by CBIE, 60 percent of the international students are interested in becoming permanent residents of Canada after completing their studies.
Canada allows the students to work while studying as they offer them one of the world’s most competitive packages, and then obtain a post-graduation work permit to gain the Canadian work experience that will help them to choose from more than 80 economic class immigration streams.
Another major reason could be, while international students pay more tuition fees in comparison to Canadian students, their overall expenses in the country are lower than in other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom.
International Students Playing a Major Role In Canadian Economy
According to the estimates of the Canadian government, International students contribute around CAD $22 billion on annual basis to the country’s economy and help to sustain over 170,000 jobs.
Another major impact an international student can do on the country’s economy is by becoming a Canada PR Visa holder through approximately 80 economic class pathways. These pathways include the Express Entry program, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), Atlantic Immigration Pilot, etc. These pathways have a dedicated stream that allows international students to apply for Canada PR Visa.
In 2019, a total of 34 percent of Immigrants that have become permanent residents of Canada, come through Canadian Experience Class (CEC), specifically designed for international students and temporary foreign workers with Canadian work experience to apply for PR Visa. Suggesting that Canada has actually realized the positive impact that international students are having on the country’s economy.
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