Canada: Brexit benefit

EducationWorld June 2022 | International News Magazine

A rise in the number of international students from Europe going to Canada seems to be the “product” of Brexit, according to an analysis of latest trends in immigration data. Figures from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on the number of study permit holders in 2021 from various countries show there is an increase of between 10-80 percent from some western European nations last year compared with pre-pandemic levels.

This compares with total holders of Canadian study permits, as at December 31, 2021, of 621,000 from all countries, a figure that was still 3 percent below the number of permit holders at the same time in 2019.

Canada-based recruitment platform ApplyBoard, which highlighted the figures in an ‘insights’ blog, says 37 of 44 European countries saw growth in study permit numbers last year that were higher than overall growth. “While it’s well-documented that Covid-19 created pent-up demand for international education from students in all countries, this concentrated spike in interest across Europe looks to be a product of Brexit,” says the blog. “European students who previously would’ve opted to take advantage of reduced tuition fees at UK institutions are now casting their search wider, pursuing education opportunities in Canada.”

Data from the UK suggests there has been a collapse in undergraduate recruitment from European Union nations in 2021-2022, the first academic year since a Brexit-induced change in rules that mean EU students face higher fees and no access to government-backed loans.

UCAS data on undergraduates, as well as figures on issued study visas, suggest that student mobility has been particularly limited in Eastern European countries. However, the numbers in the UK from western European nations, where Canada has mainly seen an uplift, still appear to have fallen by substantial amounts. For instance, while about 3,800 UK study visas were issued to German citizens in 2021, UK universities had about 6,400 entrants from Germany in 2019-20.

Among the largest European nations, German citizens represented the biggest rise in Canadian study permit holders last year, growing 70 percent from 2019 to about 5,000.

Also Read: Canada: Scathing micro-degrees criticism

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