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International students entering Canada up 22% to 270,000

The number of international students seeking a Canadian education continues to grow sharply, with Canada’s immigration division IRCC revealing a 22% increase in students who entered Canada last year.

Asian students continue to show enthusiasm for Canadian education. Photo: Embassy of Canada to Vietnam.

"Over the past year, there has been a significant increase in student applications - even increases of 100% in some markets"

Speaking at the recent CBIE conference in Halifax, IRCC policy analyst Angie Larocque reported that 268,631 international students entered Canada in 2016.

It was also revealed that the total number of study permit holders in Canada as of 31 December 2016 was 414,946, up from 351,330 (an 18% increase) in 2015. 

“The number of international students coming to Canada continues to grow,” said Laroque.

India was the biggest single source of growth with an increase of 27,810 (57%)

“Over the past year, there has been a significant increase in student applications – even increases of 100% in some markets.”

 She added that fastest-growing source markets were China and India, which represented 49% of all new student entries in 2016, and welcomed additional visa application centres in key markets such as China to aid with processing times.

According to IRCC, India was the biggest single source of growth with an increase of 27,810 (57%) students with a valid permit as of December 2016.

China grew more slowly, up 12% to 131,890 in 2016, but it remains by far the largest sending market for Canadian educators.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese numbers increased by nearly 55% to 7,500 and Filipino students by 70% to reach 3,350.

Brazil rebounded from a decline between 2014 and 2015 to record a total enrolment of 9,225 students (up 26%) for 2016.

Saudi Arabia and Russia were the only two declining markets in the top 20 table for 2016. Where Russia registered a drop of almost 3% for the year, Saudi student numbers decreased by  22%.

The IRCC top 20 sending markets for Canadian education

Speaking with The PIE News, Gabriela Facchini, manager of international business development & partnerships at Sheridan in Toronto, acknowledged that colleges were reporting they were “full” in the Greater Toronto Area.

“Latin America is a last-minute market and I’ve gotten tonnes of emails from agents saying can my students start in January and I have nothing,” she said.

“They haven’t been able to find a seat in any of the GTA colleges.”

This was helping colleges in the outskirts of the province and in other areas, Facchini acknowledged.

In October, Canada came out on top of an IDP research paper on global study destinations, due to its safe environment and policies which are seen as warm and welcoming.

While international students numbers in Canada continue to surge, the latest IIE Open Doors survey released last week revealed that US universities reported a decline in international students enrolments for 2016/17, prompting reference to the policies and rhetoric of the current US administration.

Despite political events south of the border, Canadian educators maintain it is their strengths, not US weaknesses, that has led to these increases.

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