Canada Now More Popular than the UK among International Undergraduates

May 20, 2016

By Campbell Cohen Law Firm |
More international undergraduates are coming to Canada to study than to the United Kingdom (UK), with tighter immigration rules in the UK cited as one of the main reasons why the country has now been overtaken by Canada in the competition for these students.

The findings come from an all-party parliamentary group in the UK, which recently determined that immigration strategy has led to many international students choosing to study in other countries, such as Canada. The group echoes recent warnings made by UK politicians and academics that by including international students in targets to cut net migration, there is a risk in putting them off coming to the UK in the first place.

Meanwhile, the new government of Canada has increased overall immigration target levels and announced that it aims to find ways to make the immigration process simpler and more straightforward for international students once they have completed their studies in Canada. The Liberal government of Canada is generally perceived as being pro-immigration, and it is believed that immigration target levels may increase again over the coming years of the government’s mandate.

Immigration Minister John McCallum recently stated that Canada “must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents,” adding that “they are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians.”

Such positive, welcoming rhetoric from the Canadian Immigration Minister is quite different from comments and proposals made over recent years by peers in other developed countries, such as the UK and the United States. Last year, the UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, was forced to defend a government plan to expel international students from the UK after graduation. The UK government aims to “move towards zero net student migration,” with foreign students finding it extremely difficult to remain in the country once they graduate.

In contrast, depending on the study program and the Canadian province in which an international student is studying, he or she may have multiple options for pursuing permanent resident status. After a permanent resident has resided in Canada for a certain period, he or she may then apply for Canadian citizenship.

For example, a graduate from a Canadian educational institution, who then goes on to gain work experience in Canada, may be eligible for Canadian permanent residence under more than one federal immigration program (the Federal Skilled Worker Class and the Canadian Experience Class), as well as multiple Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), many of which encourage graduates to apply under specific streams. In some cases, individuals who graduated from an institution one province may even be eligible to apply under a PNP in another province.

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