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Survey of International Students in Canada

August 22, 2018

Sixty percent of international students in Canada want to apply for permanent residency in the country, according to a nationwide survey of international students conducted by the Canadian Bureau for International Education this spring. This represented a significant jump from the 51 percent who indicated an intention to permanently migrate in an earlier survey in 2015.

Canada has experienced rapid growth in international students in recent years, a boom that's been fueled in part by policies encouraging immigration of international students.

About 14,000 students responded to the CBIE survey, which garnered a 17 percent response rate. Among the findings, 29 percent of students said they had applied to institutions outside Canada. Of those students, more than half (54 percent) applied to study in the U.S., 22 percent in the U.K. and 15 percent in Australia. The top three reasons that students gave for studying in Canada were the reputation of the educational system, Canada’s reputation as a tolerant and nondiscriminatory society and Canada’s reputation as a safe destination.

Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with their Canadian education experience. The survey gathered information about the students' academic experiences, their participation in extracurricular activities, their housing and familial situations, their friendship circles and level of social integration, and their experiences working or looking for work in Canada, among other topics.

Slightly more than a third (35 percent) of the survey respondents were enrolled in programs at the bachelor’s level, 22 percent at the master’s level and 17 percent at the doctoral level, while most of the rest studied in certificate or diploma programs or English-language programs. Students from East Asia were underrepresented among the respondents, while students from sub-Saharan Africa were overrepresented compared to their numbers within the overall student population.

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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