Over 1 million international students studied in Canada in 2023
Over 1 million international students studied in Canada in 2023. Active study permits for international students in Canada grew by 27% to 1,028,850 in 2023, exceeding the government’s projection of 950,000. Ontario hosted 51% of these students, followed by British Columbia (19.5%) and Quebec (11.5%).
However, this rapid growth has created challenges like housing shortages and strain on the healthcare system. This has led to a planned 35% decrease in approved study permits for 2024. The cap will be based on each province’s population, leading to significant changes in student recruitment across provinces. This move is supported by a Nanos Research poll indicating that 55% of Canadians favor accepting fewer international students.
International student numbers have increased dramatically, from 637,855 in 2019 to 807,260 in 2022, prompting concerns that many students, including those from India, are being exploited by agents who recruit them to attend private colleges in Canada with subpar standards, support, and facilities.
More than 60,000 international students became permanent residents of Canada in 2023, a 9,670 increase over the 52,740 international graduates who became international students in 2022, according to IRCC data.
In a written parliamentary answer, the Immigration Department told Conservative MP Garnett Genuis in October 2023 that as of September, 1,015,744 people had valid study permits that allowed them to enter Canada.
In a written parliamentary response, the department stated that slightly over a third of them were enrolled in programs at universities recognized by Universities Canada, which is made up of almost 100 universities.
The Globe and Mail was able to obtain an August 2023 IRCC document that was distributed to universities last year, which predicted that 949,000 international student applications would be received in 2023 as well as just over one million in 2024.
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