In the first four months of 2019, more than 97,000 international students received permits to attend Canadian post-secondary institutions, almost 20,000 more than the same time last year.
Considered the best country for quality of life in the 2019 Best Countries rankings, which is formed in partnership with BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Canada is a dream for many immigrants seeking a better future. With a public health system, high-quality education and values such as inclusion and equality, it doesn’t come as a surprise that more and more students around the world want to attend Canadian institutions.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently released data showing that in 2018 there were 572,415 international students in Canada, a growth of 16 per cent compared to previous years.
Last year, there were 22,330 Vietnamese students in Canada, positioning the country as the fifth source market of international students just under France, South Korea, China and India.
According to the 2017 International Student Admissions Service (ISAS) poll that surveyed 1700 students, 62 per cent picked Canada as their top choice.
But the increment of international students is not a coincidence; in fact, is the result of several factors.
According to the website ApplyAbroad, a leading recruitment agency for international students, some of the most important reasons why many international students come to Canada to study are related to high-quality education, post-graduation job and immigration opportunities. They come from fast-growing economies such as Vietnam, India, Iraq and the Philippines.
When it comes to high-quality education, three Canadian universities are considered among the best 100 in the world. In the most recent edition of the QS World University Rankings, the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia were ranked 29th, 33rd and 51st (respectively). Additionally, the many opportunities the Canadian government offer to those who graduate from post-secondary Canadian institutions to obtain a work permit and eventually a permanent resident card, attracts many students who seek to settle in a country with a higher quality of life than the one they were born in.
One reason the Canadian government continues to seek ways to attract international students is the economic boost they provide to the country.
According to a federal analysis, from 2010 to 2016 international students injected more than $15 billion into the Canadian economy. This amount includes tuition, groceries and rent.
In 2016, the international students’ sector boosted the Canadian economy by supporting 170,000 jobs.
In April, the Canadian government made public its plan to attract more international students. Officials from universities, colleges and the federal government are currently developing an aligned strategy to promote Canada as an education destination in fast-growing countries.
With this, the government hopes to position Canada as the top destination for international students.
Another reason international students are growing in Canada has to do with its southern neighbor, the United States.
In 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. enrollment of international students declined for the second year in a row. In 2017, the decline was six per cent of first-time international undergraduate enrollment. Many attributed this trend to the so-called Trump effect, where immigration of certain ethnicities has been discouraged and travel bans imposed. That may be so, but it also has to do with money. Tuition for international students in the U.S. has increased by almost $7,000 since 2012. Additionally, the Canadian dollar exchange rate is more attractive for international students than the American dollar.
Whatever reasons they come to study in Canada, most international students are content with the education they receive. According to a CBIE survey, 93 per cent of international students in Canada are satisfied with their overall experience in the country.
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