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South Africa: Canada sees “70% surge” in students

An immigration consultant in South Africa has claimed that students in the country are “increasingly” looking to go to Canada for higher education – with work permits being a key incentive.

The Cape-town based immigration consultant said the surge was likely due to Canada's open work permit policy. Photo: Pexels

Studies showed a 70% surge in students heading to Canada to study at various institutions

Nicholas Avramis, who is based in Cape Town, said in a recent interview that studies showed a 70% surge in students heading to Canada to study at various institutions.

“Canada by far has the largest contingent of foreign students of any country,” says Avramis, who runs Beaver Immigration Consulting.

“South Africans are adventurous people and they travel all over the world, for education,” he continued.

“With the Canadian option, it’s an investment in your future… other countries just don’t offer that”

Explaining the possible reason for the surge, Avramis explained that the breadth of programs, especially in tech – such as coding and software engineering – are luring students to Canada for the post-graduation work opportunities.

“Canada loses many graduates to the United States, there’s a big brain drain… so there is a big need for tech in the country,” he said as a guest on CapeTalk, a radio show in South Africa.

“When [students] graduate, they get a three-year open work permit to find work anywhere in the country, and then after a year you can apply to stay, for permanent residency,” he told Africa Melane.

“With the Canadian option, it’s an investment in your future and your family’s future if you stay, and other countries just don’t offer that,” he continued.

It comes as Canada saw a “record issuance” of student visas – most notably from India, with China not far behind, prompting a call to prioritise diversity among the international student bodies in Canadian institutions.

In 2021, a total of 447,085 Canadian study permits became effective, although it was not clear if all these students were in the country at the time of measuring. Immigration minister Sean Fraser has said that 300,000 international students had been brought in last year.

“Canada continues to be seen as “safe and stable” and an “open and welcoming country and these remain important factors in student decision-making,” Melissa Payne of the CBIE told the PIE last week.

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