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Immigration and Citizenship

Canada Ranks First in International Students Immigration

Canada International Students Visa

Over the past few years the Canadian government has developed a strategy to attract International students to study in Canada and to allow them to stay and build careers in Canada after completion of their studies.  Canada’s generous immigration policy for International students is enjoying surging success.   The policy put in place innovative study permit programs and an established post-graduation work permit program and a clear pathway to permanent residence.

Originally the program aimed at having 450,000 international students by 2022.  However, that target was achieved at the end of 2017, when there were 494,525 study permit holders across all levels of study.

Foreign post-secondary admissions jumped by 20 per cent between 2016 and 2017 to 370,975 students.


Canada Study Permit Holders On December 31 Each Year

Source: Statistics Canada


Candidates are being drawn here by the prospect of building a new life, instead of just getting a qualification.

Important reasons for the rise in Canada International students visa popularity include:

  • Expedited visa processing for certain eligible students from China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
  • Hassle-free post-study work opportunities for up to three years.
  • Extra points awarded under Express Entry for foreign students graduating from Canadian institutions.
  • Innovative programs and options like Study and Stay in Nova Scotia and the rest of Atlantic Canada.

In 2015, five out of 10 international students said they wish to work in Canada after graduation. Now, seven in 10 say they have career ambitions. Meanwhile, six in 10 say they intend to become Canadian permanent residents.

The largest source countries include China, India, Mexica, and, post the US travel ban, Iran. For these countries, Canada scores high on three important parameters – quality, affordability, and post-graduation opportunities.  According to the latest UNESCO data, the total number of international students in the world has risen from 800,000 in 1978 to more than 4.5 million in 2013.

The international higher education system is in the midst of a period of instability due to political flux in traditionally popular destinations like the U.S. and the U.K.

Canada is well-placed to gain from these changes and is likely to become more popular among foreign students, something also likely to aid its effort to attract more skilled worker immigrants.

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