Canada Welcomed Over 400,000 New International Students In 2021 | BOOZYN

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Canada Welcomed Over 400,000 New International Students In 2021

The international student population in Canada has recovered so quickly after a decline due to the pandemic and as at last year, Canada welcomed about 450,000 new international students.

Before the pandemic, Canada saw over 400,000 new study permits take effect before the figure fell to just over 255,000 in 2020. The total of last year was a doubling of the result of 2020.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released monthly data on new study permits that take effect. These are new students arriving to Canada and also foreign nationals already living in Canada who successfully obtain a study permit.


It was seen that the period between July and August saw the highest new study permits taking effect with over 200,000 in total just before the beginning of the 2021/2022 academic year.

IRCC also posts year-end data around the first quarter of each new calendar year. The data is a snapshot of all the students with valid study permit in Canada on December 31.

The increase in the new study permits taking effect led to the full recovering of the international students’ population in Canada from the pandemic hit.  As of December 31st, Canada hosted about 622,000 international students. Its international student population stood at nearly 640,000 people in 2019 and fell to about 530,000 in the pandemic period in 2020.


At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Canada put bans on travels and this affected many prospective students who had yet to enter the country. in October 2020, Canada lifted this ban which allowed the country’s international student population to recover and this was the reason it saw a record breaking level of new international student in 2021.

This increase in the international student population last year was because of those that wanted to come to Canada in 2020 but couldn’t as a result of the pandemic and also those who wanted to begin their studies in Canada in  2021.

Also, the easing of Canada’s Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) rules also plays a vital role in this recovery. Before the pandemic, IRCC did not allow distance learning to count towards PGWP eligibility but this policy was temporarily until August 31, 2022 to help those who want to go ahead with their Canadian study plans even with the pandemic situation.

International students that complete their studies at an eligible Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) may be eligible to obtain a PGWP. The PGWP allows international graduates in Canada to gain work experience in the country which is needed to apply for permanent residence in Canada and so a lot of them favour the PGWP.

DLIs are colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions approved by the government to host international students.

Also, international students say that they are drawn to Canada because of its high quality of education, safety, multicultural nature and many others factors. Studying in Canada is also affordable compared to some other countries with large international student populations like the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Also, international students get to work while studying in Canada in order to support themselves financially and also gain more work experience.

India remains the leading source country by far for international students in Canada accounting for nearly 35% of the international student population in the country. China remains second and then France.

The top 10 international student source countries by the number of study permit holders on December 31, 2021:


  • India – 217,410
  • China – 105,265
  • France – 26,630
  • Iran – 16,900
  • Vietnam – 16,285
  • South Korea – 15,805
  • The Philippines – 15,545
  • The United States – 14,325
  • Nigeria – 13,745
  • Mexico – 11,550

How To Study In Canada

You will first have to conduct research on educational programs and DLIs in Canada and then you submit your applications to DLIs and if approved, you will obtain a Letter of Acceptance (LOA).

With the LOA, you can go ahead and submit a study permit application to IRCC. IRCC will consider the factors like financial means to support your study and living expenses in Canada, evidence that you have a genuine interest in studying in Canada and some other criteria.

IRCC also offers the Student Direct Stream (SDS) which is an expedited study permit pathway to residents of 14 countries and some of them are India, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Vietnam, Senegal, Peru, Columbia, Morocco and Brazil.

Many of the immigration programs in Canada reword candidates that have studied in Canada. You also get to earn extra points through the Express Entry System for Canadian study experience. Some provinces also do the same as they have special programs for international graduates from DLIs in Canada.

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