Number Of Indian International Student Applications To Canada Falls

Number Of Indian International Student Applications To Canada Falls
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A new report by Better Dwelling says the high cost of living and the weak labour market has caused a 41% drop in the number of international students from India who are applying to pursue post-secondary education in Canada.

While Ottawa processed close to 146,000 new study permit applications for Indian students from July to October in 2022, it processed less than 87,000 applications during the same period in 2023.

The Vancouver-based daily news publisher and financial media company claimed that the trend especially took off in the second half of 2023.

India – which is the largest source of international students in Canada – reportedly showed 19,700 study permit applications in September, which is a 51% fall in demand to 18,8000 application filings during the month in question.

This sudden pattern shift was first observed in June, when there was a sharp drop in the monthly study permit applications from India. The rise in application numbers went from around 100% to around 12%, the month after which it went into the negatives.

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While July observed an approximately 12% fall in study permit application numbers, August observed the largest fall yet at 44%, and September experienced little more than a 50% fall.

Many experts attribute this to the rise in diplomatic tensions between India and Canada. However, the G20 meeting that led to those tensions only happened in mid-September. A more likely cause for the change is the discussion on Canada’s exploitation of international students, which came ahead of this riff.

There has been an increase in the number of international students posting on social media about the hardships of studying in Canada as a foreigner, making special mention of the high cost of living and lack of the opportunities that they had been promised, according to Better Dwelling Co-Founder Stephen Punwasi.

The media’s role in this cannot be understated; according to an ApplyBoard report, the number of articles written about Canada housing increased five-fold between April and August 2023, compared to the same period last year.

The percentage of content flagged as “negative” rose from 12 to 30% too, with Indian students’ financial problems and unemployment challenges being recurrent themes.

The pattern of falling study permit numbers does not stem from India only, however. Such a trend has had an impact on study permits in general, which have experienced a 20% contraction. Just 60.3 thousand study permits were processed in September, which is a drop of 20% (-15.5k) from last year.

This was the largest annual contraction since 2020, when processing was closed in many countries.

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In fact, study permit growth is falling so fast that it may even have been flat in 2023.

Further complicating this issue is IRCC’s recently imposed hike to the proof of financial support requirement for student visa applicants, which – although shows that the government is taking international students’ hardships seriously – has received mixed reaction from students.

While some appreciate that Ottawa recognizes the challenges they face, others see the sudden and large increase as a significant barrier.

As per ApplyBoard, the change is positive and will only allow those to enter Canada who can afford to.

ApplyBoard noted in a December 11 report that Indian students are not necessarily going to other English-speaking countries to study, either.

“While the US and particularly Australia did see some growth over the period in question, it wasn’t nearly enough to account for Canada’s decline,” it said, and also pointed out that the UK has seen a drop in international students because of its ban on most of them bringing dependents with them to the country.

Canada’s woes in terms of attracting international talent and students are mirrored through its woes of retaining them, as residents are choosing to leave it at alarming rates. StatsCan data, in fact, indicated that in the third quarter of 2023, Canada underwent the fourth-largest departure of its residents in the last 73 years, with a 3% increase in emigration.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.