Whether they are planning to study or are currently studying in Canada, international students are highly motivated to apply for Canada permanent residence and work after graduation, a new report suggests.
The report entitled, “Retaining International Students in Canada Post-Graduation: Understanding the Motivations and Drivers of the Decision to Stay,” is based on findings from two surveys: A World Education Services survey of prospective international students coming to Canada and a Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Survey of international students currently studying at Canadian post-secondary institutions.
Survey results featured in the report show more than 50 per cent of prospective international student who responded to the survey plan to apply for Canadian permanent residence and work in Canada after graduation.
Some of the reasons prospective international students cite for wanting to apply for permanent residence in Canada include better job opportunities and Canada’s better standard of living compared to their country of origin.
Once in Canada, international students maintain the desire to apply for permanent residence and work in Canada after graduation. The CBIE survey found a 50/50 chance that respondents will apply for Canadian permanent after graduation and a larger percentage plan to work in Canada after graduation.
The goal of the CBIE survey was to examine how international students experience studying in Canada’s post-secondary institutions.
The writers claim that international students who come to Canada from less affluent countries are more likely to stay due to the likelihood of finding better employment prospects.
The following are some additional findings cited in the report:
- International students from Africa and the Middle East are nearly three times more likely to apply for Canadian permanent residence when compared to international students from the United States.
- International students who had reported they have Canadian friends were more likely to demonstrate an intention to apply for permanent residence in Canada than those who only have international students or students from their home countries as friends.
- Students enrolled in a college or institute are more likely to show an intention to apply for Canadian permanent residence than those attending university.
- International students studying in the Prairie region of Canada showed more interest in applying for Canadian permanent residence than those studying in other parts of Canada.
- International students who viewed Canada as a safe country were more likely to express an intention to apply for Canadian permanent residence and plan to work after graduation.
The report says that the strong association between working in Canada and intentions to apply for permanent residence suggests international students who do stay will pursue work and as a result will contribute to the Canadian economy.
Canada’s commitment to International Education
The Government of Canada has time and again referred to international students as “ideal candidates” for Canadian immigration because of their language proficiency in one or both of Canada’s official languages, their Canadian educational credentials, and their work experience in Canada.
As part of its 2014 International Education Strategy, the Government of Canada announced its intention to coordinate with provincial and territorial governments, Canadian educational institutions, and stakeholders to grow the number of international students from 239,131 in 2011 to more than 450,000 by 2022.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship data released earlier this year indicates that Canada surpassed that 2022 target at the end of 2017.
The presence of international students in Canada has proven to be fruitful for the country’s economy. The report says that international students, including family and friends, contributed $12.8 billion Canada’s GDP in 2016.
International students also contribute to the creation of jobs in Canada. The report claims that annual spending of international students has resulted in a 20 per cent increase in jobs from 2015 to 2016.
The federal government says it is continuously looking for ways to enhance the experience and opportunities of prospective and current international students in Canada. To this end, the Canadian study permit process was enhanced for study permit applicants from India, China, Philippines, and Vietnam.
Also, the Study and Stay pilot program has been expanded from Nova Scotia to all Atlantic Canada provinces. The program helps international students who graduate from a post-secondary institution in the region find meaningful employment in their field of study after graduation.
More retention efforts required
While international students have dedicated programs to stay and work in Canada after graduation, the report offers the following recommendations for policy makers and stakeholders interested in retaining more international students:
- Inform international students about opportunities to work and stay in Canada before arriving in Canada.
- Facilitate integration of international students by enabling friendships with Canadians and Canadian work experience opportunities.
- Develop mentorship and networking prospects to build professional connections and ease international students’ entry to the Canadian workforce after graduation.
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