A new report poll suggests that while some international students arrive in Canada knowing whether they want to stay or return home after finishing their education, the majority of them decide after living there for a few years.
Elena Neiterman, a lecturer at the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems, said, “Nearly a quarter of our participants made the decision before arriving in Canada.” “However, the majority were unsure of their future intentions until they got the opportunity to live here and experience life in Canada.”
There have been several variables that influenced the students’ decision to stay or move, including economic opportunities in Canada v/s their native country, family relationships in Canada or abroad, perceived immigration system constraints, and feelings of isolation prejudice.
The researchers observed that these students’ interpretations of the term “staying” vary significantly. While 2/3rd of research participants intended to stay, only 17% regarded it as a permanent migration to Canada. Moreover, one-third of them wanted to stay for a few years before they return to their home country. And the rest were unsure about what the future held for them.
Staying in Canada includes a strategy for over half of the participants in order to seek permanent status once they graduate. The permanent residence status would allow them to keep more options and alternatives and provide them access to more work prospects, according to students.
The researchers interviewed 60 international students from two universities, aiming for diversity in graduate v/s undergraduate status, male v/s female, and non-binary students, with 20 students studying in each of three fields: Social Sciences and Humanities, Health Sciences, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
“Only ten students had a strong initial intention to stay in Canada that remained constant while they studied, and an international education was a method of immigration for them,” Neiterman said. “For the others, the migration decision-making process was complex and evolved over time.”
The participants were all in their last year of studies and came from 23 different nations making it so diverse, with China accounting for 30% of the total.
In 2018, international students accounted for 16.5 percent of all students enrolled in Canadian schools. According to Global Affairs Canada, they contributed a whopping $15 billion to the Canadian economy in 2017.