International Students Find Permanent Home in 2023
In 2023, many international students transitioned to permanent residence.
Transition to Permanent Residency (PR):
- 20,580 former study permit holders moved to PR in the first three quarters of 2023.
- This is an increase from 19,735 in 2022.
Significant Growth Trend:
- Over the last four years, there has been a substantial increase in international students obtaining PR in Canada.
- The latest data indicates a 78% surge compared to 2019.
Preferred Provinces for Permanent Residency:
- Ontario is the top choice, with 35% of former students opting to stay permanently.
- Other popular destinations include British Columbia (21%), Quebec (12%), and Alberta (9%).
Canada’s Education Plan and Stable Residency by 2026
Global Affairs Canada aims to enhance the diversity of study locations for international students in the next phase of Canada’s education strategy, anticipating a more equitable distribution of the economic impact. This strategy shift aligns with Canada’s 2026 plan to stabilize permanent residency levels at 500,000, a departure from years of continuous immigration growth, while maintaining increased levels in 2024 and 2025 at 485,000 and 500,000, respectively. The goal is to create a balanced and sustainable approach to immigration.
Addressing Growth and Student Residency Challenges
Canada’s new policy tackles population growth challenges but raises concerns as international students, though a minority, face low chances of transitioning to permanent residency, despite record numbers granted last year.
Most international students in Canada want to become permanent residents, but only a few achieve this status. Jenny Francis from Langara College points out that available pathways may create false expectations. This highlights the need for a closer look at the challenges faced by international students aiming for permanent residency in Canada.
Miller’s Reviews: Pathways for International Students’ Residency
- Minister Marc Miller emphasized that being an international student doesn’t guarantee Canadian permanent residence or citizenship.
- Concerns were raised about “unscrupulous agents” creating false hopes with limited pathways to permanent residency.
- Jenny Francis urged agents and colleges to clarify that studying in Canada offers a chance, not a guaranteed path, to permanent residency.
- Miller committed to opening clearer paths for permanent residency and changing the post-graduate work permit scheme.
- Details of these changes are pending.
- Miller stressed that people often come to Canada not just to study but with the desire to stay.
- Aligned pathways are needed for students to secure jobs and move towards permanent residency.
- The Canadian Bureau for International Education proposed a “special stream” for international students within the immigration system to ease access to permanent residency.
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