Canada sets a new record by issuing 450,000 study permits in 2021

By Remitbee - Mar 30, 2022

Before the widespread of the COVID19 pandemic, more than 400,000 new study permits were issued in Canada in 2018, with the total number falling to slightly more than 255,000 in 2020.

Last year's total has more than doubled compared to the previous year. Canada issued 450,000 new study permits in 2021, a remarkable number that well exceeded the previous all-time high set in 2019!

The Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) has been posting information on new study permits that have become effective every month. These include both new students who have recently arrived in Canada and international students who have previously come to Canada and have successfully secured a study permit from the Canadian government.

When are the permits being issued?

It's no surprise that the newest study permits were issued between July and August, with over 200,000 published in total just before the academic year 2021-2022.

The IRCC also publishes year-end data around the first quarter of each new calendar year and quarterly data. The information is a snapshot of all students who had a valid study permit on December 31st. Fortunately, due to a rapid increase in the number of new study permits available, the number of international students has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels in Canada.

As of December 31st, almost 622,000 international students were enrolled in courses in Canada. Its global student population peaked in 2019 at around 640,000 persons before the pandemic reduced it to approximately 530,000 international students in 2020.

What factors have interrupted students from studying in Canada?

In March 2020, the start of the pandemic, Canada implemented travel restrictions that affected many prospective students who had not yet arrived in the country. Following the lifting of these restrictions in October 2020, Canada's international student population recovered, which explains why Canada had its record-breaking number of new international students arriving in the country last year, according to Statistics Canada.

The large number of study permits that became available last year was primarily due to a double cohort of students arriving in Canada:

  • those who wanted to travel to Canada in 2020 but couldn't because of the pandemic, as well as,
  • those who wanted to start their studies in Canada in 2021 but couldn't due to the pandemic

What are the requirements to get an issued permit?

Canada's relaxation of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) requirements is likely to have had a significant role in the recovery. Distance learning was not permitted to count toward PGWP eligibility before the epidemic. Still, the IRCC has temporarily relaxed this restriction until August 31st, 2022, to assist students who wish to continue with their Canadian study plans in the face of the pandemic.

International students who complete their studies at an approved Canadian designated learning institution (DLI) may be eligible to get a PGWP upon completion of their studies in Canada. The PGWP is in high demand because it allows international graduates to gain the Canadian work experience they need to be eligible to petition for permanent residency in their home country.

University systems, colleges, and other post-secondary institutions that the government has approved to host overseas students are DLIs.

What motivates international students to study in Canada?

Along with the chance of obtaining permanent residence, overseas students report that Canada's high-quality education, multiculturalism, and safety, among other considerations, attract them to the country.

According to the Canadian Council on International Education, studying in Canada can be less expensive than with many international students in other nations, including the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom. Another significant advantage of studying in Canada is the ability for international students to work while studying, which allows them to support themselves financially while also gaining valuable work experience.

India continues to be the most critical source country for international students in Canada, accounting for almost 35% of the country's total global student population. China maintains its second-place ranking, followed by France. Since India has the world's second-biggest English-speaking population and a sizable middle-class population, it accounts for a significant portion.

How to study in Canada?

The first step in pursuing a degree in Canada is to undertake research into educational programs and distance learning institutes. You next submit your applications to DLIs, and if your applications are approved, you will receive a Letter of Acceptance (LOA).

With the LOA in hand, you can proceed with applying for a study permit to the IRCC. Aspects including such evidence of a sincere interest in learning in Canada and monetary funds to enable your education and living expenses, among other requirements, will be taken into account, according to the International Relations and Cultural Cooperation Council (IRCC).

IRCC also offers the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which allows citizens of 14 countries, the majority of whom are India and China, to apply for a study permit in a shorter amount of time. Countries with large populations include the Philippines, Pakistan, Vietnam, Morocco, Senegal, Brazil, Columbia, and Peru.

Many of Canada's immigration schemes provide preference to applicants who have studied in the country. Extra points can be earned through Express Entry for study abroad in Canada and a slew of other streams run by the Immigration and Refugee Council of Canada (IRCC). The provinces and territories do the same thing or exist exclusively for overseas grads.

This is due to studies conducted by the Canadian government, which show that international graduates have a high rate of success in the job market after gaining permanent residence.

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