Almost 450,000 new study permits took effect last year in Canada, shattering the previous record in 2019. It is also twice the number experienced in 2015.
Before the pandemic began, Canada had just over 400,000 new study permissions took effect. That number plummeted to 255,000 by 2020.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) releases monthly reports about upcoming study authourizations that are taking effect. The reports include new students arriving in Canada and foreign nationals already living in the country who have obtained a study permit.
The summer of 2021 —the period before the 2021/22 academic year begins— was when the greatest uprise of new study permits took effect, over 200,000 total.
The IRCC also releases year-end reports around the first quarter of each new calendar year, which sums up data about all who hold valid study permission by December 31st. As of December 31st, the country hosted nearly 622,000 pupils from abroad.
In 2019, the international population had been almost 640,000 before falling to 530,000 in 2020. The significant spike in new study authourizations led to Canada’s non-native learning population nearly recovering to pre-pandemic numbers.
In March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Canada imposed various travel restrictions that negatively impacted many hopeful overseas educatees who had not yet entered the country. In October 2020, Canada then relaxed these restrictions, which allowed the foreign pupil population to increase, and explained why so many new students arrived from abroad last year. The record-high influx was due to two groups of international learners. One group consisted of those who wanted to come to study in Canada in 2020 but stopped because of Covid. The other group was those who wanted to begin their Canadian studies in 2021.
Another major factor in the recovery was likely due to Canada’s easing of rules for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Before the Covid pandemic began, the IRCC did not allow distance learning to count toward application eligibility for the PGWP. As of August 2022, to assist non-natives who wanted to go ahead with their Canadian study plans during the pandemic, this rule has been temporarily relaxed.
International pupils that complete their education at an eligible Canadian designated learning institution (DLI) might be able to get a PGWP. DLIs are colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions that have been government-approved to host foreign learners. The PGWP is desirable because it allows non-native graduates to gain the required Canadian work experience for permanent residency (PR) eligibility.