OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 26, 2013) - Canada welcomed a record number of international students in 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. Last year was the first time in Canadian history that Canada has welcomed over 100,000 international students, an increase of 60% from 2004.
"Attracting and retaining the best and brightest immigrants from around the world is part of the government's commitment to grow Canada's economy and ensure long-term prosperity," said Minister Kenney. "The steady growth in numbers confirms that Canada remains a destination of choice for international students because of the remarkable educational opportunities that exist in our world class institutions."
According to a 2011 report by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) entitled International Education: A Key Driver of Canada's Future Prosperity, international students contribute more than $8 billion every year to the Canadian economy. In addition to significant economic benefits, international students also enrich Canadian society with their ideas and different perspectives.
"Canada's universities are pleased to see increasing numbers of international students attracted by our reputation for excellence in education," said Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. "In addition to making a significant contribution to our economy, international students bring new perspectives and cultures to our campuses, enriching the learning experience of all students."
International students are also a future source of skilled labour, as they may be eligible upon graduation for permanent residency through immigration programs, such as the Canadian Experience Class which the Government introduced in 2008. International students are well-prepared to immigrate to Canada as they have obtained Canadian credentials, are proficient in at least one of our official languages and often have relevant Canadian work experience.
"Canadian colleges and institutes, with a focus on applied higher education and unparalleled placement rates, are magnets for international students," said Association of Canadian Community Colleges President and CEO, James Knight. "Canadian college credentials are a passport to employment success not only in the students' country of origin, but also in Canada where their skills are in high demand."
Recently proposed changes to the International Student Program would streamline work permit access to international students attending designated institutions, and provide certain study permit holders with the authority to work part-time off-campus.
The proposed changes would also better protect international students as provinces and territories designate the institutions qualified to receive them and Citizenship and Immigration Canada eliminates abuse of the program by ensuring program participants are genuine students. These changes would safeguard the world-class reputation of Canada's post-secondary education system, as it strives to become ever more competitive in the global search for talent.
"Canada competes globally for the best and brightest minds, so we are continually working to make studying in Canada an attractive choice," added Minister Kenney. "Through our proposed improvements to the International Student Program, we will further improve Canada's already strong reputation."
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Photos of Minister Kenney available at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/high-res/index.asp.
Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.