Canada’s international student population is booming, tripling over the past decade to 570,000 people in 2018.
Canada now ranks as the fourth-leading host country for international students, behind the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, according to ICEF.
Canada’s higher intake is due to the global explosion of international students. UNESCO estimates there were 5.3-million international students in 2017 compared with two million in 2000.
The main reason international students come to Canada, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), is the quality education provided by Canada’s universities and colleges.
The second major factor is Canada’s reputation as an open and welcoming society towards newcomers. This provides Canada with a significant advantage during these times of rising anti-immigrant sentiment in other western countries.
Canada’s advantage is also due to the comprehensive study-work-immigrate package that it offers international students.
Unlike other countries, Canada allows international students to work part-time during their studies so that they can support themselves financially.
After completing their Canadian education, they are eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) that enables them to stay in Canada and pursue full-time employment opportunities.
Canada’s international student population should continue to grow due to the aforementioned reasons plus demographic factors.
The main demographic cohort of new students for Canada’s universities and colleges (Canadians between the ages of 18-24) has declined due to the country’s low birth rate. This means Canadian educational institutions will continue to rely on international students to sustain their operations.
Canada’s international student story is a predominantly positive one. Not only does the higher intake benefit the country’s economy and the students themselves, but it also helps to strengthen Canada’s social ties with the rest of the world. Many international students will return home to become the business, government, and social sector leaders of tomorrow.
As they reminisce about their time spent in Canada, they will go on to serve as informal Canadian ambassadors for many decades to come.