Canada is a premier destination for international students, as highlighted by Immigration Minister Marc Miller, who has indicated that the country is on course to welcome approximately 900,000 international students in 2023. However, recent data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) suggests that this estimate may be conservative.
An internal policy document has unveiled a forecast of 1.4 million international student applications by 2027. This revelation emerged in an IRCC document discussing the establishment of a category of “trusted” universities and colleges, eligible for expedited processing of international student study permits.
The Globe and Mail obtained this document, which reveals that between 2019 and 2022, the number of study permit applications for international students has been surging, with an annual increase of nearly 300,000.
According to the IRCC paper, projections indicate that the international student population will reach 949,000 this year and slightly exceed one million the following year. This number will climb to 1.1 million in 2025, 1.28 million in 2026, and finally reach 1.4 million by 2027.
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Demographics of International Students
The international student demographic in Canada has exhibited notable trends. Historically, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec have been the preferred choices for incoming students. However, due to concerns related to housing and affordability, an increasing number of students are opting to pursue their studies in Canadian provinces with lower tuition fees and a more affordable cost of living.
Between January and June 2023, each province has experienced substantial growth in the issuance of new study permits compared to the same period in 2022. For instance, Alberta issued 14,536 new study permits, marking a remarkable 139% increase compared to the permits issued from January to June 2022.
Similarly, Saskatchewan issued 4,430 new study permits, reflecting a significant 116% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
Furthermore, there has been substantial growth in the number of students from countries such as Nigeria, Nepal, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea during this year. Each of these countries has either matched or exceeded their full-year 2022 numbers. If this momentum continues, the anticipation is that the number of study permits granted to Nigerian students will surpass 40,000 in 2023, solidifying Nigeria as Canada’s second-largest source country for international students.
The Canadian Government Grants a Substantial Number of Study Permits in 2023
An article by ApplyBoard has distilled recent data from IRCC, revealing that between January and June 2023, the Canadian government has issued an impressive total of more than 280,000 new study permits. This marks a substantial 77% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
Furthermore, during this same timeframe, the Canadian government processed over 435,000 study permit applications in the first half of the year, representing a significant 49% increase from the same period in 2022.
In 2022, Canada celebrated a record influx of 551,405 international students hailing from 184 different countries. Additionally, as of the close of 2022, there were 807,750 international students with valid Canadian study permits, both of which set new all-time highs.
Given the rapid pace at which study permits are currently being processed and issued in 2023, it is highly anticipated that the number of study permits granted will reach an unprecedented milestone, with an estimated 600,000 permits expected to be issued this year.