Last Updated on November 8, 2021
International student enrolments at Canadian business schools are expected to soar to levels higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic because of measures put in place during the travel restrictions, a survey by QS Quacquarelli Symonds reveals.
“There is optimism that the fall semester will see a return to the status quo for Canadian business schools, while an extension of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program to encompass offshore online study will have helped to maintain interest in Canada as a study destination while international travel was unavailable,” notes QS in its latest report.
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“Others believe that their new online executive MBA programs will allow them to reach greater numbers of international students than they had before the pandemic,” states the report on the survey.
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In Leading The Way In The COVID-19 Recovery, the biggest international higher education network in the world outlines a lot of the pain caused the pandemic.
“We saw the struggles of the pandemic amplified for international students, in particular, who were required to either study from their home country in often inhospitable time-zones, or in-country but confined to their home without access to the social, networking and employment opportunities that they would otherwise have had,” notes the report.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data shows that international students are an important source of new permanent residents to Canada.
During the pandemic, 20,445 new permanent residents to Canada were people who had previously been international students.
In 2019, the last full year prior to the arrival of COVID-19 in Canada, the country welcomed 11,565 new permanent residents who had previously had study permits.
Flexibility Added To International Student Programs
Immigration officials courted international students during the pandemic by allowing them to take all of their courses via distance education in their home countries without losing their study permits and the benefits that come with them.
That flexibility offered to international students boosted Canada’s reputation in the eyes of many of those students.
“In May, 2020, Navitas surveyed its global agent network to explore how COVID-19 was changing the fortunes of international study destinations,” said Jon Chew, head of strategic insights and analytics at Navitas.
“Findings from that initial survey showed that Canada’s reputation as a study destination had been enhanced by its government’s handling of the pandemic. At that time, New Zealand, Australia and Canada were leading the pack.”
In September, Navitas repeated its survey and got similar results. If anything had changed during the height of the pandemic, it was that Canada’s handling of the pandemic had further enhanced its reputation as a favourable place to come and study.
Third of International Students Want To Stay In Canada
A big draw for international students looking to study abroad in Canada’s PGWP that allows them to stay in Canada, work, and eventually apply for permanent residence.
In a recent survey, roughly a third of international students who planned to attend college or university in Canada said they hoped to do just that.
Despite the PGWP and opportunity to study online while enrolled at Canadian universities and colleges, international student enrolment in Canada fell considerably during the pandemic.
“Nation-wide, Canada saw a 17-per cent drop in international enrolments between 2019 and 2020,” the QS survey reveals.