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Posted on February 26 2020

Canada has the third-largest international student population in the world

By  Editor
Updated March 30 2024

Canada currently houses 646,000 international students making it the third-largest international student population in the world. The US, with 1.1 million international students tops the list, while Australia with 700,000, comes in second place.


As per the IRCC, the international student population in Canada grew by 13% in 2019 compared to the year before. 2019 saw a record 404,000 Study Permits issued to international students.


In the last two decades, Canada’s international student population grew six times. It has tripled over the last decade alone.


The world is witnessing an increase in the middle-class population. With household incomes increasing, more students are now going abroad to pursue higher education. UNESCO states that there are more than 5 million international students worldwide compared to just 2 million in 2000.


The number of Canadian-born students ( between 18 and 24 years) taking admission into colleges and Universities has dwindled due to Canada’s low birth rate. To sustain themselves financially, Canadian Universities have had to up their international student recruitments.


Canada has seen an increase of 11% in its population in the last ten years. However, the population of the 18 to 24 years age group has only risen by 4%. Hence, Canadian Universities have had little choice but to look at international students for revenue.


Ontario is home to the largest international student population in Canada. Ontario had nearly 307,000 international students in 2019, accounting for 48% of the entire international student population in Canada.


British Columbia follows in second place with 23% of Canada’s international student population at 145,000.


Quebec has 14% of all the international student population in Canada at 87,000.


Manitoba and Nova Scotia also house a significant number of international students. There are nearly 19,000 international students in each province.


Prince Edward Island witnessed the strongest growth in international students with their number increasing nearly five times since 2010.


Other Canadian provinces that have doubled their international student population are Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.


India and China make up 56% of all international students in Canada. One-third of all international students in Canada are Indian. High levels of English proficiency is one of the significant reasons why a huge number of Indian students qualify for Canada’s study programs.


Among the other top 10 source countries for international students in Canada are France, South Korea, the USA, Vietnam, Brazil, Iran and Nigeria.


The table below shows how the international student population has risen in the Canadian provinces:


Province/Territory 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Ontario 1,52,105 1,86,345 2,36,265 2,75,690 3,06,735
British Columbia 95,790 1,04,675 1,18,760 1,33,445 1,44,675
Quebec 50,040 54,735 61,325 69,965 87,280
Alberta 19,710 23,410 26,110 29,690 32,990
Manitoba 10,020 12,825 15,995 18,580 19,385
Nova Scotia 10,460 11,795 13,350 16,170 18,640
Saskatchewan 5,855 7,035 7,950 9,430 10,840
New Brunswick 4,170 4,445 4,800 5,800 6,905
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,675 3,215 3,665 4,090 4,690
Prince Edward Island 1,440 1,965 2,475 3,215 3,815
Yukon 35 65 220 230 270
Northwest Territories 25 30 30 40 35
Province/Territory not stated 40 150 195 1,780 6,200
Total 3,52,365 4,10,690 4,91,135 5,68,130 6,42,480


Canada estimates that international students contribute nearly $22 billion in revenues every year, helping sustain nearly 170,000 jobs.


Y-Axis offers a wide range of Visa and Immigration products as well as services for aspiring overseas students including Study Visa for Canada, Work Visa for Canada, Canada Evaluation, Visit Visa for   Canada and Business Visa for Canada. We work with Regulated Immigration Consultants in Canada.


If you are looking to Study, Work in Canada, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Canada, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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