International Students In Canada: Top 10 Most Important Source Countries

International Students In Canada: Top 10 Most Important Source Countries
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New data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals India, China, and the Philippines are the top three most important sources of international students to Canada.

Last year, India’s importance as a source of international students grew yet again, by 33.6 per cent, as 226,450 Indian students got study permits to come to Canadian colleges and universities, up from 169,460 the previous year.

With that boom in Indian students in Canada, they now comprise more than 41 per cent of the total of 551,405 international students in the country. 

Top 10 Sources Of International Students In 2022

1 India 226,450
2 China 52,165
3 Philippines 25,380
4 France 16,725
5 Nigeria 16,195
6 Iran 13,525
7 South Korea 11,535
8 Japan 10,955
9 Mexico 10,405
10 Colombia 10,150

In second place in the list of the top 10 most important sources of international students to Canada, China provided 52,165 study permit holders in Canada last year, down slightly from the 55,900 the previous year and off 38.6 per cent from the record high of 84,980 Chinese students in Canada in 2018.

In the third spot, the Philippines sent 25,380 students to Canada in 2022, a spike of almost 76.7 per cent over the 14,365 Filipino study permit holders in Canada the previous year. 

Together, these three countries provided 303,995 international students to Canada’s post-secondary institutions last year, well over half of the total number of study permit holders, 55.1 per cent, in the country. 

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Despite its long border with Canada, the United States provided only 7,060 international students to Canada last year, less than the much-smaller country of France which provided 16,725 international students in 2022 and came in the fourth spot.

The United Kingdom, which has historically played a very important role in the development of Canada and still has official ties to the country, only provided 2,290 international students to Canada in 2022.

Nigeria Was The Fifth Most Important Source Of International Students To Canada Last Year

Rounding out the top five most important sources of international students is one of the entrepreneurial hubs of Africa, Nigeria, which sent Canada 16,195 international students last year, up dramatically from 9,530 the previous year.

The Middle Eastern country of Iran provided 13,525 international students to Canada last year, South Korea another 11,535, Japan 10,955, and Mexico 10,405.

The final country to make it in that top 10 list was Colombia in the northern part of South America which contributed 10,150 international students to Canada in 2022.

Colleges and universities in Canada enjoyed a financial lift last year as the number of international students in the country swelled by 24.2 per cent to hit a record-breaking 551,405.


In the seven years since 2015, the number of study permits handed to international students coming to Canadian colleges and universities has grown by 151.7 per cent, from 219,035 such permits. 

Increasingly, Canada is seen as a great destination by international students due to Ottawa’s bullish stand on immigration and the country’s open arms to newcomers from throughout the world.

According to its Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is hoping to attract 1.45 million new permanent residents in the coming three years to meet the challenge of its massive labour shortage.

Canada also enjoys an enviable reputation for the quality of its colleges and universities. 

The internationally-acclaimed University of Toronto – which consistently ranks near the top of lists of the world’s best universities – is the best university overall in the country as ranked by Maclean’s news magazine.

Universities And Colleges In Canada Enjoy A Stellar Reputation Worldwide

In second place overall in the latest Maclean’s rankings was the University of Waterloo and in the third spot went the University of British Columbia.

The news magazine also ranked the universities by subcategories, including highest quality of education. In that subcategory, McGill came out at the top of the pack with the University of Toronto in second place, followed by the University of Waterloo.

Maclean’s also ranked the Canadian universities based on degree of innovation. In that subcategory, the University of Waterloo placed first, followed by the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia came in third.

The news magazine’s ranking was hardly a surprise.

Last year, McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia all made the cut of the best 50 universities in the world, according to QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a provider of analytics and insight to the global higher-education sector.

The QS Top Universities ranking also named another 11 other Canadian universities, for a total of 14, in the top 25 per cent of the more than 1,400 universities ranked by Quacquarelli Symonds in its list.

Almost all international students must apply for a study permit which, once issued, allows a foreign national to study in Canada at an approved institute for the duration of the specified course or program.

There are exceptions. Foreign nationals do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada under the following conditions:

  • the course or program of study is less than six months in duration;
  • the student is a family member or staff of a foreign representative to Canada, or;
  • the student is a member of a foreign armed force.

To be eligible to study in Canada students must:

  • have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada;
  • have proven they have enough money to pay for their tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation for themselves and any family members who come with them to Canada.
  • be law-abiding citizens with no criminal record and not a risk to the security of Canada. They may have to provide a police certificate;
  • be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary, and;
  • satisfy an immigration officer they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay.

International Students Can Work While Studying In Canada

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also be required if the student is a citizen of a country from which such visas are required for entry into Canada. This is not required for citizens of visa-exempt countries. 

The IRCC allows students to work while studying in Canada.

A student may be able to work in Canada during his or her studies under the following categories:

Spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are also eligible for work permits for the duration of the study permit.

Upon graduation, a foreign student may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under this program, the work permit may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.

The valuable work experience gained while an international grad works in Canada under a PGWP can count towards a permanent residence application through Canada Express Entry system.

Under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used by Express Entry system programs, applicants for immigration are assigned points based on:

  • skills;
  • work experience;
  • language ability;
  • language ability and education of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • possession of a job offer supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment;
  • possession of a provincial government nomination for permanent residence, and;
  • certain combinations of language skills, education and work experience that result in a higher chance of the applicant becoming employed (skill transferability).
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