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New Pathway To Permanent Residence For International Students: 450,000 New Students in 2021 Set Canada Record

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Study Permits and Student Visas

New Pathway To Permanent Residence For International Students: 450,000 New Students in 2021 Set Canada Record

Canada will develop a new pathway to permanent residence for international students, said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser to ApplyBoard in an online interview. ApplyBoard is an Ontario-based educational tech company founded by Canadian immigrants in 2015. Fraser said,

“Our message to international students and graduates is simple. We don’t just want you to study here. We’re hoping to create pathways that allow you to stay here and make a lasting contribution beyond your academic career.... In 2021 alone, we welcomed more than 300,000 international students across Canada. That’s nearly double the amount of students from the year before and it’s actually higher than pre-pandemic levels.”

Record Number of International Students

Canada welcomed a record number of new international students in 2021. Nearly 450,000 new international students arrived in Canada despite the border closures according to IRCC data, an all-time high. Canada has established itself as a key global destination for foreign students.

Not only are immigrants important to boost Canada's economy, Canadian colleges and universities are increasingly dependent on international student fees as a major source of tuition revenue. According to an investigation by the Globe and Mail,

"Government support for postsecondary education in Canada has stalled for more than a decade, so many colleges and universities have made up the difference by recruiting international students, who are often charged tuition that is four times as high as domestic students."

While U.S. foreign student enrollment dropped significantly during the pandemic, the number of international students in Canada soared, said an article in Forbes, because:

Canada makes it much easier to work in temporary status and gain permanent residence.

U.S. international students declined by 7.2-22.7% (depending on the time of year), said Forbes, while during the same period, Canada's foreign student enrollment increased by 52%.

International Student Recruitment & Immigration Fraud

A new pathway to permanent residence for international students will need to protect foreign students from recruitment fraud. The investigation by The Globe and Mail says "Canada's international student recruiting machine is broken" and that many foreign students are lured to Canada with false promises of a job in Canada, sub-standard housing and having sub-par language skills. Immigration fraud targeting international students can be avoided by working with an experienced, regulated Canadian immigration lawyer or recruitment consultant, said Canadian immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah:

"Anyone - international students, professionals, families and even businesses - can fall victim to immigration fraud."

During the pandemic, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched new programs to help put in place several measures to help international students. IRCC made changes to the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program:

Canada University Degree as a Pathway to Permanent Residence

Canada’s immigration programs provide a pathway to permanent residence for international graduates and reward applicants who have a degree from a Canadian university, including extra Express Entry points for graduates of Canadian post-secondary schools and study experience.

According to IRCC data, 621,565 study permits were issued in 2021, a 17.7% increase from 528,190 in 2020.

The top countries with international students in Canada in 2021:

  1. India: 217,410
  2. China: 105,265
  3. France: 26,630
  4. Iran: 16,900
  5. Vietnam: 16,285
  6. South Korea: 15,805
  7. The Philippines: 15,545
  8. The United States: 14,325
  9. Nigeria: 13,745
  10. Mexico: 11,550

Are You A Foreign Student Who Wants to Study in Canada?

Canada is an attractive destination for foreign students and has increased opportunities for international student enrollment in recent years. An experienced, licensed immigration professional can help identify the best opportunities for you to study in Canada.


To study in Canada, international students usually require a study permit. Study permits are only available for those accepted to schools designated to accept international students on the official Designated Learning Institutions list, but only at the post-secondary level. Primary and secondary schools throughout the country are automatically deemed as designated institutions.

For more information on applying to study in Canada as an international student or to find out about working while you study or after you graduate contact Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (403) 452‑9515 or email us directly.

    Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

    Founder/Managing Lawyer

    Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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    - Greg, on Svetlana's Citizenship Application

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