2020-03-03 – The number of Study Permit holders in Canada increased to more than 640,000 in 2019, as the federal government’s policy of attracting more international students to study in Canada continued to bear fruit.
The 2019 numbers are a 13 percent rise on 2018, and an 82 percent rise on the 2015 figure – the year the current Liberal federal government first came to power.
Indian citizens continued to dominate the numbers, with the number of Study Permit holders increasing to nearly 220,000 in 2019, more than a third of the overall total.
Meanwhile, the number of former Study Permit holders transitioning to permanent residence also increased in 2019. During the year, more than 11,500 candidates with prior Study Permit status became permanent residents.
Source: Government of Canada
The latest figures show there were a total of 642,480 Study Permit holders in Canada as of December 31, 2019, compared to 568,130 in 2018.
The figures eclipse the federal government’s one-time target of 500,000 international students by 2020.
Canada now has almost 300,000 more Study Permit holders that it did in 2015, with a number of policies introduced in the intervening years aimed at attracting international students.
The federal government views international students as blue-chip candidates for permanent residence.
They are young, Canadian educated, have the required language ability, often have Canadian work experience and knowledge of Canadian life. This serves to ease their transition and integration into Canadian society.
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A clear pathway to permanent residence has been established for international students.
First, they arrive in Canada on a Study Permit. Then, provided they graduate from an eligible course at an eligible institution, they can qualify for a Post Graduation Work Permit depending on the length of their studies.
Finally, they can use the accrued experience to make the transition to permanent residence, either through the Express Entry system or via a provincial immigration program.
Since it was first elected in 2015, the federal government has introduced the Student Direct Stream to provide expedited processing for Study Permit applications from selected countries.
It has also introduced new points under the Express Entry system for Canadian education.
Additional Express Entry Points For Canadian Education
|1 or 2 years post-secondary education in Canada||15||15|
|3 or more years post-secondary, Master or PhD||30||30|
The message is clear to international students: that Canada wants them to study, then stay and build their lives here.
Top 10 Nationalities of Study Permit Holders
|Rank||Country of Citizenship||2018||2019|
|6||United States of America||14440||15015|
Indian citizens dominate the numbers of Study Permit holders by nationality, also showing by far the biggest increase in numbers in the last year out of the top 10.
While the numbers of Indian students grew from 170,000 to nearly 220,000 between 2018 and 2019, a rise of 28 percent, the majority of the other top 10 countries showed much smaller increases.
China, the second most popular source country for international students, saw numbers stall entirely between 2018 and 2019.
This shows how important a market India has become for new international students.
Overall, Canada had an extra 74,350 Study Permit holders in 2019 compared to 2018, with Indian citizens accounting for 48,125 of the increase, or 65 percent.
The increase in numbers of Study Permit holders is also slowly dripping through to numbers of new permanent residents with prior international student status.
It should be noted that the increase in numbers of international students is likely to take several years to have a major impact on permanent resident figures.
An international student arriving in Canada in 2019 is likely to require several years of study and work experience before qualifying for permanent residence.
But the numbers are already increasing.
The 11,570 new permanent residents with prior Study Permit status in 2019 was a six percent increase on 2018 and a 40 percent increase on the figure for 2016.
Expect these figures to rise sharply over the next number of years to reflect the increase in the number of Study Permit holders seen since 2015.