In 2017, Canada attracted an unprecedented number of international students to its universities and colleges. Not only have application rates have seen a rapid increase for the upcoming academic year, but a greater number of those students are choosing to stay in Canada after they graduate than ever before!
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), within the next 10 years Canada expects to have almost half a million international students studying in the country!
Between 2008 and 2015, the number of international students in Canada almost doubled and a survey in 2015 by the CBIE found that more than half of all international students planned to apply for permanent residence in Canada after they graduate.
Currently, 75% of the Canadian work force’s annual growth can be attributed to immigrants and this figure is projected to rise to 100% within the next 10 years. Talented international students are the perfect candidates to help grow the Canadian economy.
Between 2015 and 2016 the international student population in Canada grew by 8% to over 350,000 international students, a figure that equals 1% of the total Canadian population. In comparison, the United States’ international student population is less than one-third of 1% of the total population.
So why are international students choosing Canada? And why are they increasingly choosing to stay on in Canada after graduation?
1. Improved Immigration Process
The popular Express Entry system was reformed last year to make economic immigration even more straightforward for applicants, especially international students applying to become permanent residents of Canada.
The changes to the Express Entry program were aimed at attracting the best of highly skilled international students. Following the changes, there is less of a focus on a job offer in Canada, and more emphasis on the quality of education the candidate has received, their language skills, and their Canadian work experience.
One of the biggest improvements to the Express Entry program to benefit international students is the recognition of Canadian post-secondary education, which will now give a candidate an additional 15 to 30 points.
2. Post Graduate Work Program
The PGWP allows international students that graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution to be eligible for a Canadian work permit. This makes it easier to look for a job in the Canadian job market if you graduate from a Canadian college or university. Candidates can look for employment without worrying about being sponsored and won’t be required to obtain a positive LMIA before being employed.
The PGWP permit will be valid for the same length as your program of study and for a maximum time of 3 years. The post graduate work permit can be issued if you have studied for a minimum of 8 months in a full-time course at a Canadian institution.
The aim behind this work permit is to allow recent graduates to gain enough work experience so that they can apply to become a permanent resident in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class program.
If at the end of the 3-year period after you receive the PGWP, you have completed a year of work experience in a technical, managerial or professional field, then you can also apply for the Canadian Experience Class visa which will allow you to eventually apply for permanent residence.
3. Canadian Experience Class
If you have at least 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada within the last 3 years before you apply (either full–time or part–time) then you are eligible for CEC through Express Entry. International students can also earn points for having studied in Canada, if they earned a diploma or a degree from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary school.
4. Stable & Vibrant Country
Most importantly, perhaps, is the reputation of Canadian universities and colleges. In fact, Canada is one of the top-ten study destinations in the world. In 2008, the total number of study permits granted to international students was approximately 128,000 and by the end of 2016 this figure had risen to more than 400,000!
The immigration programs available to graduates also contribute to Canada’s reputation as a country that is increasingly welcoming international students on a permanent basis, as opposed to other countries that only offer temporary student status.
5. Quality of Life
Canada is a great place to settle down in, and quality of life is a key factor when choosing to immigrate to a country. According to the 2017 Global Peace Index, Canada is one of the top 10 safest countries in the world and according to statistics measuring quality of life specifically, Canada ranked number 1 in 2017! Quality of life statistics take into account factors such as economic stability, income equality, political stability, education system and public health system.
These 5 reasons have contributed significantly to the upward trend in the number of international students choosing Canada for their secondary-education, and continuing on to later become permanent residents of Canada.