More international students than ever want to want to stay in Canada after graduation.
That’s the finding of a new survey by the Canadian Bureau of International Education, which polled 14,000 international students at 46 educational institutions earlier this year. Sixty per cent of all international students want to become permanent residents of Canada, according to the 2018 survey. That’s up from 51 per cent in a smaller survey conducted in 2015.
“The number tells me that the pathway to permanent residency is still an important consideration for international students,” said Leah Nord, director of board, member and stakeholder relations for the Bureau.
Nord said that despite students’ strong intention to stay, more must be done to actually retain international students in Canada.
Amy Braye, manager of the International Education Centre at Mount Saint Vincent University said she is “positive in general” but “a little bit less optimistic” about how easy it is for international students to stay in Atlantic Canada.
“There are employment opportunities here but it is the informal network to access those opportunities that’s very common in Nova Scotia. And it can be hard for international students to break in,” Braye said.
Both Nord and Braye said the increased interest in staying in Canada may reflect new immigration programs and pathways.available to international students.
“I think there’s a real, genuine interest across the board from the students, from the practitioners, from institutions, from government and even the wider communities,” Nord said.
The final report by the Canadian Bureau of International Education will come out in November this year.