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TORONTO, ON, March 24, 2022 – New international research has found that a third (33%) of students intending to study in Canada, intend to work in the country upon completing their studies and 30% intend to seek permanent residency in Canada. Just under 18% (a fifth) plan on returning home to work.

With Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announcing that Canada will welcome nearly 432,000 immigrants this year to fill critical labour-market gaps and support a post-pandemic economic recovery, international students can and plan on becoming an integral component of Canada’s future workforce.

The research, conducted by IDP, the world’s leading recruiter of international students, also showed that 97% of students are choosing to study courses that are either directly or indirectly related to their intended career. The top employment sectors for students are related to science, IT, education, and health, sectors where Canada suffers from a skills shortage and where most newcomers in 2021 on temporary status are employed in.

When deciding which country to study in, 63% of international students cited the quality of education available, while 52% of students said it comes down to the post-graduation employment opportunities. However, students are clear, they will only be tempted to change their initial destination country of choice if offered better scholarships, guaranteed employment post-graduation or lower fees. Furthermore, students will only be persuaded to change their chosen subject to a different one that leads to different employment opportunities if they are guaranteed post-graduate employment.

Few students were motivated to change subjects because of extended post-study work rights or the offer of a pathway to permanent resident status.

“Tomorrow’s international students are motivated by the return on investment of their education and are willing to change country and subject to secure future employment,” said Jonah Duffin, Director of External Relations at IDP. “The countries in which institutions, governments and, most importantly, employers can work together to develop the right offer to students and best practice in post-study employment, as well as being able to effectively tell this story to prospective students will therefore benefit the most from the next generation of skilled and highly educated students, in turn fulfilling their labour market needs and the needs of their economies”

“While Canada should congratulate itself on the positive perceptions it enjoys and the popularity it has amongst international students, it must not be complacent. The US is a key competitor, and its attractiveness is increasing rapidly while Australia is reopening its borders with ambitious plans to rebound. In nearly twenty years in working in this industry, this is the most competitive I have seen it with countries looking to not only grow international student numbers but also to diversify the countries they recruit from. Intelligent, targeted and data-driven student recruitment strategies will be important in achieving these aims.”

According to the IDP data, Canada remains the number one destination of choice for students with 27% of respondents stating it was their first-choice destination. This is followed by the USA (20%) and UK and Australia in joint third place (19%).

Student perceptions of the leading destination countries appear to be driving the choice of destination, with Canada most often ranking number one on key factors such as graduate employment opportunities, post-study work polices and welfare while the US and UK are perceived as offering the highest quality of education.

For media interviews about international student trends and how they impact Canada’s post-secondary education sector, please contact:

Yonatan Belete

NATIONAL Public Relations


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Jonah Duffin
Jonah Duffin24 March 2022