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The Rise of International Students Choosing Permanent Residency in Canada: A Look at the Trends

Austin Campbell



Rise of International Students

Canada, renowned for its immigrant-friendly policies, has seen a notable rise in international students choosing for permanent residency. This shift has profound implications, altering the students’ lives and making a significant impact on Canada’s society and economy.

`The Rise of International Students in Canada

Canada’s reputation as a world-class destination for education has been steadily growing. Recent data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals an impressive increase in the number of international students transitioning to permanent residency. This growth, however, comes with both opportunities and challenges for Canada.

IRCC statistics tell a compelling story of growth in the number of former international students obtaining permanent residency in Canada. In 2005, 8,565 students made this transition, a number that has nearly tripled to 19,330 within the first three quarters of 2023.

Provincial Perspectives

Over the years, Ontario has consistently been the top province for international students transitioning to permanent residents. In 2015, Ontario led with 2,725 admissions, far ahead of Alberta in second place with 1,700. By 2023, Ontario continued to shine, admitting 6,760 former international students, reinforcing its status as a premier choice for education and immigration.

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However, the ranking of other provinces has evolved significantly in the period covered by IRCC statistics. In 2015, Alberta was second with 1,700 admissions, followed by Quebec (1,575 PRs), and British Columbia (1,425 PRs). Fast forward to 2023 Q3, British Columbia climbed to second place with 4,195 PRs, a substantial increase of 2,770. Quebec maintained its third position with 2,115 PRs, while Alberta remained fourth with a modest 200 more admissions than in 2015.


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Short-Term Fluctuations and Long-Term Growth

The long-term trend shows consistent year-on-year growth in international students gaining Canadian PR. In 2015, 8,565 students transitioned to permanent residents, with a minor dip in 2016 to 8,270. Subsequent years witnessed steady growth, reaching 11,565 in 2019. However, the stricter 2020 immigration policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in 7,750 PR grants. Notably, 2021 saw a remarkable surge, with 22,675 former students gaining PR, surpassing 2022 and 2023’s first three quarters.

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Cautions and Considerations

It’s essential to note that this increase in PR grants to international students doesn’t guarantee permanent residence for every student studying in Canada. In a report titled “Strengthening the Integrity of Canada’s International Student Program,” Senators Omidvar, Yussuf, Marwah, and Woo emphasized the limited availability of PR spots to accommodate the growing influx of international students in Canada.

Canada saw a record influx of 550,000 international students in 2022, with over 800,000 study permit holders by year-end. The report underscores the need for a competitive PR process and warns against deceptive advice from education consultants on PR and citizenship.

Canada’s Growing Appeal

The rise in international students becoming permanent residents showcases Canada’s appeal as an education and immigration destination. It emphasizes the importance of effective management to integrate new residents while upholding immigration integrity, reflecting Canada’s commitment to attracting global talent.



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