U.S. visa freeze could be a boon for Canada's effort to attract top talent
Canada’s government is ramping up new permits to foreign students, a comforting sign for the nation’s universities who rely on international enrolment as a key source of funding.
The latest data show 30,785 new study permits were issued in May, double the average from the previous three months when they fell dramatically during COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Immigration Canada. The May figure is above the 27,810 permits issued during the same month last year, the first year-over-year increase in 2020.
A surge in foreign students in recent years has helped power the country’s biggest increase in net migration in more than a century. But the coronavirus pandemic now threatens that driver of growth, even as universities continue to admit international students. For one, it’s not clear travel restrictions will be lifted in time for the fall semester. There’s also concern the global recession may prompt international students to remain at home for their education.
“Still the question will be of course what comes in the fall,” Andrew Agopsowicz, a senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said by email.
The increase in student permits in Canada comes as the Trump administration announces international students won’t be able to remain in the country unless they take at least one in-person class. Canada has no such restrictions.
There were more than 642,000 foreign students in Canada at the end of last year.