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International students in Canada: 40% increase since 2005

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s latest e-newsletter reports that international students, who are estimated to bring more than $6.5 billion to the Canadian economy each year, are increasing in numbers: “Based on preliminary 2010 data, the number of foreign students coming to Canada since 2005 has increased by more than 40 percent, with a total of 96,147 entries last year.” About 25,000 of these students came to Toronto.

Students from India are showing particular interest in Canada: their numbers tripled in just two years, from 3,250 in 2008 to 11,530 in 2010.

According to CIC, “this increase from from India can be in part attributed to the Student Partners Program launched in 2009. A collaboration between Canada’s visa offices in India and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the program’s goal is to increase the approval rate for study permit applications at participating Canadian colleges while ensuring high rates of compliance with visa regulations. Processing times within the program are faster than the global norm, with an average of about two and a half weeks.”

The newsletter also cites a number of federal initiatives mean to bolster international student numbers, such as online application services; thePost-Graduation Work Permit Program; the Off-Campus Work Permit Program; and the Canadian Experience Class, which can help lead to permanent residency.

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The increase in Indian students entering Canada in 2010 may also be connected to their decreasing numbers Down Under, where an Australian national newspaper reported that “new students are turning their backs on the once-prized Australian education sector in favour of Canada, New Zealand and Britain.” By September 2010, Indian student enrolment in Australia was down almost 50 per cent compared to the previous year, “due to the combined effect of onerous new financial requirements, last year’s street attacks on Indian students, vocational school closures and the rising Australian dollar.”

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