In addition, Canadian work experience gained by international students during their studies, and after graduation, boosts earnings, the report by two government agencies – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Statistics Canada – detailed.
The number of immigrants with Canadian educational experience has grown dramatically, the report said. The share of economic immigrants who have studied in Canada jumped from 6% in 2000 to 38% in 2019.
“This study is a validation of what our sector has been saying for some time,” said Randall Martin, executive director with the British Columbia Council for International Education.
“This study is a validation of what our sector has been saying for some time”
“In many ways international students constitute ideal immigrants in that they are, for the most part, young and healthy, unencumbered by family, bright and multilingual, ambitious and mobile. And Canadian institutions trained and educated them.”
Martin added that “the fact that over time this population achieves success and economic outcomes significantly above the benchmark is a testament to their hard work and should reinforce the idea that Canada truly is the best place on earth to study.”
The report noted that immigrants with two to less than three years of Canadian study earned about 27% more than those without Canadian study experience one to two years after landing.
“However, the effect of years of Canadian study was not linear: those with three or more years of study earned much less than those with fewer years of Canadian study,” it added.
In addition to gaining work experience while studying in Canada, many international students improve their ability in English or French.
The report credited this as a key factor in the earnings boost in the first two years after immigrating. Many employers demand strong language skills and Canadian work experience before they will hire an immigrant.
This report will be valuable for the language sector, said Gonzalo Peralta, executive director of Languages Canada, the association of English and French programs.
“It provides concrete evidence at a macro level of what was proven at a micro level and well known by language education experts: higher language skills and in-country experience improve performance, productivity and wealth,” he said.
“International students who learn English or French in Canada are the ideal candidates for work and immigration and can be productive citizens from day one of their landed immigrant status.”
“International students who learn English or French in Canada are the ideal candidates for work and immigration”
More than 58,000 graduates of Canadian post-secondary education programs successfully applied to immigrate to Canada in 2019.
Under the points evaluation system for economic immigrants, applicants can earn recognition for English or French language ability, education level achieved, work history and Canadian study experience. Points are also awarded to those who are younger and have arranged employment in advance.
According to the report, some economic immigrants who studied in Canada went on to further education, reducing their earnings in the initial years. However, a decade after immigration, economic immigrants with at least one year of Canadian education under their belt had significantly higher earnings than those who had studied outside of Canada.
A 2020 report found that while international students remaining in Canada earn between 17% and 38% less than Canadian graduates one year after graduation, the salary gap between international and Canadian nationals narrows over time.