Last Updated on April 9, 2019
April 9, 2019 – U.S. International student enrollment declined for a second consecutive year in 2018 as Canada attracted growing numbers of study permit holders.
Experts say the process of applying for a U.S. study visa has become increasingly difficult, with many considering Canada as their backup plan.
Candidates choosing Canada know they will be able to stay and build their lives here, while in the U.S., if they are able to get in as a student, there are no guarantees after graduation.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order is the root cause behind the increase in red tape for both study visas and the H-1B work visa.
Applications declined 4 per cent for courses starting in 2018, following a 2 per cent decline in 2017, driven by drops in applications and enrollments for master’s and certificate programs.
The number enrolling in U.S. colleges and universities had previously grown in every year since 2003.
The most popular U.S. study visa is the F-1, which allows students to work while they study, while those in STEM subjects can stay and work for an additional two years after graduation.
However, a policy change in 2018 saw U.S. immigration officials given power to reject applications without requesting further information. Previously they were required to ask candidates for clarification.
Candidates find themselves losing their immigration status over minor issues, meaning they must leave the country in 180 days or face a three-year ban.
There is no onus on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services staff to inform candidates of their lost status, meaning many are unaware and only find out when they try to use immigration services or apply for another visa.
How International Students Can Immigrate to Canada
Meanwhile, the number of Study Permit holders in Canada swelled to well over half a million in 2018, government figures show.
On December 31, 2018, there were 572,415 Study Permit holders here, a 16 per cent rise on the 492,425 recorded in 2018.
The figures cover students from high schools, colleges and universities, in Canada benefitting from its world class education system.
Study Permit numbers have increased 180 per cent in the last decade, as successive governments have recognized the benefit to the Canadian economy of increasing international student levels.
A three-step process has been established in Canada targeting international students. First, they hold Study Permits while in full time education, second, they become eligible for a Post Graduation Work Permit, and third, they can use all the experience gathered to qualify for permanent residence.
It had made Canada one of the more attractive countries in the world for foreign students considering their study options. Universities in Canada figures show a 10.7 per cent increase in the number of international students, country-wide.
International students are an important source of revenue for Canada’s schools, paying significantly higher tuition fees than their Canadian counterparts.
With Canadian education much cheaper than across the border in the U.S., Canada’s best universities are often seen as a pathway to a world class education without the dollar outlay required south of the border.
Students from India and China dominate the international student landscape, accounting for 315,610, or 55 per cent, of the total Study Permit holders in Canada.
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