Jennifer Humphries, VP of Membership, Public Policy and Communications at the Canadian Bureau for International Education, says there’s been an “explosion” of international student mobility.
In 2014 the Canadian government announced plans to double the number of international students and researchers in Canada by 2022 to 450,000. The government estimated the increase would generate some 86,000 new jobs and add an additional $10 billion to the domestic economy each year. Where a Canadian student pays on average about C$6000 a year in university fees, an international student pays C$20,000; money most appreciated in increasingly cash-strapped educational institutions.
Humphries continued to say that, “Canada’s number of international students has grown over 10 to 12 per cent a year over the last decade. The figures for 2014 indicate a growth of 10 per cent over 2013. They’re now tracking increases in students from countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, Russia, France, and Viet Nam. For many years China has been a steady source of nearly one third of international students in Canada.”
“Even more high school students are coming from abroad now to position themselves for entry into a Canadian university. And colleges and institutes of applied study are becoming more attractive to international students,” added Humphries.
This growing academic population brings several benefits to Canada and Humphries is of the opinion that many graduate students who study in Canada play a key role in knowledge generation in research. She also believes that there are tourist spin-offs when parents come to visit. The students provide social benefits when they connect with the local communities, and she says for many administrators, “the internationalization of the academy” is paramount.
Humphries says in the face of changing demographics in Canada and with skills gaps, international students are a part of the future.
International graduates can work for three years in Canada. In January of this year, the Canadian federal government created a new category of immigration called ‘Express Entry’ that will help many graduates if they’d like to remain in Canada.