Canada is in the process of welcoming hundreds of thousands of new and returning international students that study in Canada every year. But why, during a global pandemic, do so many international students pick Canada as a top destination to study abroad?
How Canada benefits from international students?
The number of international students who study in Canada is increasing every year. In 2014, 326,120 chose to study in Canada. As of 2019, the number of international students in Canada was 642,480.
Students studying from abroad in Canada are big revenue generators for provincial and federal budgets. It is estimated that international students contribute $21.6 billion to Canada’s GDP and support almost 170,000 jobs. It’s clear why Canada wants to attract students from around the world, but what’s in it for them?
Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)
Perhaps the greatest draw Canada has to offer for international students is the post-graduate work permit (PGWP). A PGWP is an open work permit and valid for up to three years. Students who graduate from an eligible program of study are able to apply, allowing them to gain valuable work experience in Canada.
Candidates with Canadian experience receive more points towards an Express Entry application. And depending on where the student studied, provincial nominee programs can also lead to permanent immigration status.
Prior to the pandemic, only in-person classes counted towards your PGWP. But new regulations from this summer allow students to study remotely for up to 50% of their program of study and still count that towards their PGWP.
This means students will no longer be penalized if in-person instruction is not available at their educational institution because of COVID-19.
COVID-19 readiness plan
All schools wishing to accept new or returning international students must have a COVID-19 readiness plan. Students who attend a school with a COVID-19 readiness plan are exempt from Canadian travel restrictions, greatly simplifying who can and can’t come to Canada.
Check to see if your school has a COVID-19 readiness plan here.
Two-stage submission system
Students can take comfort in a new two-stage submission process if they have difficulty obtaining the required documents.
Under the new rules, students can receive an approval-in-principle for the first stage of their student permit.
The approval-in-principal does not allow for travel in Canada. It allows the student to begin studying in Canada remotely and to count that time towards their PGWP.
Other great benefits of studying in Canada
Bring your family with you: Students who come to Canada are allowed to bring their spouse or children with them to Canada. Spouses of international students receive open work permits and students can study for free at Canadian public schools
Work while you study: International students are eligible to work 20hours/week during normal classroom hours and full-time during scheduled breaks. This allows you to fund your education while you study in Canada.
Career success: Studies show that newcomers who graduate from a Canadian educational institution have better labour market outcomes than those who do not.