If there is one thing Justin Trudeau’s government has done properly all through the pandemic, it is to establish regulations that are friendly to international students in Canada.
The statistics speak for themselves: according to a new IDP Education survey titled “Emerging Futures,” the country has cemented its number one position as the most favoured worldwide study location. Many students are choosing Canadian universities over major competitors in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Although Asian students continue to make up a sizable proportion of abroad students in Canada, a report issued on March 24 highlighted a surprise shift in the country’s international education recruitment. According to a study, seven of the top ten fastest-growing foreign student populations in Canada last year were European citizens.
“While it’s well-documented that COVID-19 created pent-up demand for international education with students in all countries, this concentrated spike in interest across Europe looks to be a product of Brexit,” the report read.
“European students who previously would’ve opted to take advantage of reduced tuition fees at UK institutions are now casting their search wider, pursuing education opportunities in Canada. While several UK schools continue to offer these rates to EU students, they may be sceptical of future tuition hikes or soured by Brexit politics.”
Surprisingly, the three nations that topped the European student cohort in Canadian schools — Germany, Italy, and Spain – exhibit more enrolment at the K12 level as opposed to tertiary institutions, and at a higher rate than global norms.
The survey found that the appeal of high school study abroad programmes is a big lure for overseas students attending K12 Canadian schools. Meanwhile, the number of Danish and Belgian students pursuing university-level study in Canada increased in 2021, with 300 and 1,315 students, respectively. The development corresponds to a decrease in the number of EU students enrolled in UK universities following Brexit, as they are no longer considered domestic students.
The year before, British universities recorded a 50% drop in EU student enrolment, while UCAS, the UK’s centralised university application process, recorded a 43% drop in EU student applications compared to 2020.
Whereas the number of international students in Canada has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, the country awarded a record number of nearly 450,000 study licences last year, breaking the previous record of just over 400,000 permits established in 2019.
According to the report, Asian nations account for the top six providers of international students in Canada, with India topping the list with 217,410 students – a 21% increase from 2020.
According to the most recent data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada presently accommodates 622,000 international students as of December 31, 2022, the closest it has come to pre-pandemic figures, which stood at approximately 640,000 students in 2019. Following India, students from China (105,265) and France (26,630) have the most study permits in Canada.
The influx of international students in Canada coincides with the government’s plan to increase immigration in the coming years. The Canadian government published the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-24 in mid-February, with the goal of increasing permanent residency numbers by 2024.
Following the announcement, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated last month that the country is examining additional avenues for international students in Canada to get permanent residency.
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