Canada aims to increase retention of international students

New figures suggest that Canada is not doing enough to keep international students in Canada once they have graduated.

In recent years, Canada has increasingly targeted increasing the number of overseas students studying in the country each year.

To this end it has been successful. The number of international students graduating in the country rose from 30,723 in 2010 to 53,142 in 2014. Research carried out by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, found that 59 per cent of international students viewed the potential of obtaining permanent residency as a deciding factor in their decision to study in Canada.

However, recent Statistics Canada figures found that between 2004 and 2013, only 25 per cent of international students actually gained permanent residency after their studies. What’s more, international students who did stay and find work in Canada were found to earn significantly less than Canadian-born graduates.

Over the past year, the Canadian government has introduced new measures to try and make it easier for international students to stay in Canada post-graduation. Last November changes were made to the country’s Express Entry immigration system which are designed to make it easier for international students to become permanent residents. This included awarding bonus points to permanent residency applicants who had studied at Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Moreover, yesterday new citizenship rules came into affect which mean that up to one year that overseas students spend studying in Canada will now count toward the time they are required to live in the country before applying for citizenship.

It is hoped that such changes will ease the pathway from international student to permanent residency and see more foreign graduates put their skills to use in Canada.

Article published 12th October 2017