Canada – the world’s fastest growing study destination

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In the 5 years before the pandemic struck in March 2020, the number of international students in Canada increased by more than 80%, making it the fastest growing study destination in the world.


This is inspite of the impact the pandemic has had on international student enrolments in Canada. According to new data revealed by IRCC, as of December 2020 there were 530,540 international students holding Canadian Study Permits. This is a 17% decrease from the 638,960 students reported at the same time in 2019 (which is the first decline in foreign student enrolments in the last 20 years). However, even with the Y-o-Y decline from 2019 to 2020, foreign enrolments still grew by an impressive 135% during the period 2010 – 2020.


India and China accounted for 56% of the international student enrolments in 2020. Hence, the Y-o-Y decline of 108,000 students in 2020 can be largely traced to these same leading sending markets. The decline by country is as follows :

  • India : Minus 38,515
  • China : Minus 23,840
  • France : Minus 5595
  • South Korea : Minus 5940
  • Brazil : Minus 3455
  • Japan : Minus 3110
  • Vietnam : Minus 2600
  • Mexico : Minus 2255


But Canada education institutions and international students have been encouraged by a series of supportive policies of the Canadian government. As of October 2020, Canada has reopened its borders to international students. Moreover, the government has announced a series of additional flexible measures in allowing students to qualify for Post-Study Work Permits (PGWP) and also hold Work Permits under more flexible terms.


At the same time, vaccination efforts within the country are accelerating, with the expectation that the population will largely be immunized by September 2020. As a result, Canadian institutions are initiating plans for a return to in-person learning in September 2020.


With the supportive policies that the Canadian government has been extending to the education sector and international students, and the COVID vaccination plans that are in place, we foresee a return to normalcy in student enrolments and in-person learning in 2022. Meanwhile, students can begin to enroll for post-Fall intakes. Even if they were required to study their 1st semester online, they can hope to start in-person classes from their 2nd semesters. Further, students may also note that any online learning will be counted towards their grant of the Post-Study Work Permit (PGWP). Hence, they need not be concerned on this count. Further, students who have enrolled in institutions that have a province validated COVID-ready plan, can start their in-person learning immediately.


Source : ICEF

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