According to data released by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a total of 20,850 former study permit holders transitioned to permanent residency in the first three quarters of 2023. This marks a significant increase from the 19,725 study permit holders who were granted permanent residency in 2022. Over the past four years, there has been a notable surge in the number of international students becoming permanent residents in Canada, with the latest figures indicating a 78% increase compared to 2019.
Ontario continues to be the preferred destination for former international students seeking permanent resident status, with 35% of students in the province successfully transitioning to permanent residents. Other popular provinces include British Columbia (21%), Quebec (12%), and Alberta (9%).
Global Affairs Canada has emphasised the importance of diversifying study locations for international students. By spreading the student population across different regions, the burden on services can be better managed, and the economic impact of students can be more evenly distributed.
In response to the challenges posed by a growing population in Canada, a new policy has been introduced to stabilise permanent residency by 2026. This policy aims to address the strain on infrastructure and housing caused by the increasing population.
Despite the rising aspirations of international students to become permanent residents in Canada, the actual number of students successfully gaining permanent residency remains relatively low compared to the overall number of people granted this status. Last year, a record high of 437,000 international students were granted permanent residency. Immigration Minister Marc Miller is committed to creating more pathways to permanent residency for individuals already in Canada. Additionally, there will be changes in post-graduate work permit schemes, with further details expected to be announced in the coming months. According to him, students coming to Canada don’t just come to study and then leave the country. He added that a certain pathway for those students should be there.