March 10, 2017 — Canada’s policy of attracting international students to study in Canada with a pathway to permanent residence is already working, figures show.
The number of international students in Canada increased 8 per cent to more than 350,000 in the 2015-2016 school year, data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows.
The numbers follow a developing government policy to attract foreign graduates to become permanent residents as one way of tackling an aging population and shrinking workforce.
Recent census data showed the Canadian population grew by 1.7 million between 2011 and 2016, with two thirds of that growth down to Canada immigration. Natural population growth could be nearly zero 20 years from now.
A recent tweak to the Canada immigration system, plus Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance in the U.S., is expected to push more international students to study in Canada.
Points Awarded for Canadian Education Under Canada Express Entry
|From November 19, 2016|
|One or two-year post secondary||15|
|Three-year post secondary, master’s,|
professional degree or doctorate
Meanwhile, Trump’s policies may not have directly targeted international students, but they have served to cast the U.S. as an unwelcoming place for foreigners.
Previously, students who held the dream of studying in the U.S. are now switching focus, and Canada is waiting with open arms and progressive immigration policies.
The top universities in Canada are already seeing hoards of international student enrollments.
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At McGill in Montreal, a quarter of the student population is international. The University of British Columbia, meanwhile, is spending $127 million on a language college specifically for international students who need to improve their skills before they can enrol in the mainstream school.
Equally as important for the universities themselves is the extra tuition fees paid by international students, which can be up to triple the amount paid domestically. Another by-product of Canada’s population is also seeing the domestic cohort beginning to fall.
Provinces Switch Focus to International Students
Canada’s provinces are already focusing on attracting international students to their universities, and on welcoming international graduates through their immigration programs.
Recent rounds of invitations issued under British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program have been heavily weighted towards international graduates.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia has introduced a pilot program designed to attract international graduates to remain in the province.
Graduates in fields such as health care, entrepreneurship, computer engineering and ocean sciences will see their salaries subsidized under the program, initially open to 50 graduates.
The University of Prince Edward Island is also increasing its international student recruitment efforts following significant success in growing its cohort.
With numbers of Canadian-born undergraduates dropping off in recent years, the school now relies on students from abroad to drive growth in enrollment numbers.
The latest figures from 2015 show 17 per cent of the overall student population is from overseas – or 748 out of total enrollment of 4,317.
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