Canada and Australia are leading the way in attracting international students to its universities.
While the USA and the UK may have the most in absolute numbers, they are far behind when considering the total size of its student populations.
This is where Canada and Australia dominate. They each recognize the importance their universities present in terms of international standing and in attracting valuable human capital should students decide to settle in the countries in the long term.
The American international student population accounts for 5 per cent of the university totals; in Australia that figure is nearer 25 per cent.
Individual countries promote their universities in different ways, but for Australia and Canada a key draw is that they offer English language instruction.
Where Canada has an edge is by way of its immigration policies and programs which offer international graduates the chance to work in their fields with up to three-years of temporary residence. This is a big draw when an international student is deciding on which country to study.
Proposals are currently being considered to make the process of obtaining permanent residence for international students, even easier. The federal Express Entry system is set to be tweaked in favour of fast-tracking visas for foreign students.
These elements, combined with increased of public debt in developed countries and dependence on immigration to ensure economic growth, has created a booming yet competitive market for foreign students.
There are currently 4.5 million international students with close to 200,000 in Canada each year and the latter number is expected to double in the next 5 years.
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