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2020 Update – International Students Impact on the Canadian Economy

International students have a significant impact on Canada’s economy. Global Affairs Canada recently published a study of statistics that highlight how much of an impact they have.

In 2018, a growth of 16.3% for long term international students was recorded in Canada. Long-term international student are defined as having studied in a program that has a duration of more than 6 months. Of this percentage, students from India were the highest number of students. The province of Ontario saw the highest number of international students in the province, recording the largest GDP contribution in 2018 with 55.3%.

The executive summary indicated the below:

The total annual expenditures of international students, including their visiting families and friends, contributed $18.4 billion and $22.3 billion to economic activities in Canada in 2017 and 2018, respectively. This translates into a $16.2 billion and $19.7 billion contribution to Canada’s GDP in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

The amount of international students’ overall annual spending translates to 180,041 jobs supported in the Canadian economy in 2017. The comparable value in 2018 was 218,577 jobs supported.

How Many International Students Have Enrolled in Programs in Canada?

Canada saw a 50% increase in enrollment from 2015-2018. While this pandemic may impact the numbers for international students in 2020, the numbers below are telling.

YearNumber of Students

What does this Mean for International Students in 2021-2022?

Given the impact of international students on the Canadian economy, including imports and exports, and GDP, international students will always be at the forefront of immigration. The government of Canada has actually contributed 27 million towards grants and scholarships to international students.

Nadia Bhuptani

Nadia Bhuptani is the Director of the International Student Department at Canadim Law Firm. She has helped people come to Canada to study and thereafter immigrate to Canada.

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