An increasing number of international students are obtaining permanent residency in Canada, a report by Statistics Canada has shown.
According to the report, three in every 10 international students who arrived in Canada after 2000 have transitioned to becoming permanent Canadian immigrants within 10 years of receiving their study visa.
The report also shows that half of all master’s degree students, and six in every 10 doctoral degree students, became Canadian permanent residents within the same period.
International students in non-university post-secondary education account for a particularly interesting stat – the number of these students who obtained permanent residency in Canada more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, compared to their population between 2000 and 2004.
According to Canada’s Immigration Department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the international student population in Canada increased from 122,700 to 642,500 between 2000 and 2019.
As Canada provided increasingly better benefits for international students, the number increased more and more, as is evident in the more than 400 per cent increase in the number of international students to arrive in Canada in the two decades since the turn of the millennium.
Canadian work experience and higher paying jobs act as the main drivers for international students making the transition to becoming Canadian immigrants, the study shows.
International students with Canadian work experience during their period of study in the country – or after graduation – were more likely to receive Canadian PR, with 60 per cent successful transitions.
Moreover, international students with higher paying jobs also had greater chances of becoming permanent Canadian residents; 87 per cent of all international students who arrived in Canada between 2005 and 2009, and had an annual salary of at least $50,000, successfully obtained permanent residency in Canada.
In comparison, only 46 per cent of the international students who got their study permits during the same period and had an annual income below $20,000 received Canadian PR.
The Canadian government has historically appreciated the international student population, and values them as an important part of the Canadian workforce, given their relatively young age, Canadian credentials, and proficiency in English or French – one of Canada’s two official languages.
The Canadian government also encourages international students to apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which allows graduates from a designated learning institution (DLI) to work for Canadian employers and gain work experience in the country.
This work experience often proves to be invaluable to international students, given that they can use this experience to apply for permanent resident status in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).