International students in Canada now at 1 million

Statistics Canada shows Filipino students comprise third biggest group

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Canada is now a temporary home to one million foreign students with over half of them in Ontario, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reported.

According to a Globe and Mail report, Canada has 1,028,850 study permit holders as of the end of December 2023.

This new total came as IRCC announced new policies to protect international students and to limit the issuance of study visas amid increases in the cost of living in the country and a worsening housing shortage.

Of the number, 32,425 are from the Philippines, while more than 300,000 are from India and over 100,000 are from China, which rank first and second, respectively, according to

IRCC noted that the numbers have increased rapidly from 637,855 in 2019 to 807,260 in 2022 and these are composed of college and university students and those pursuing “other studies”.

Also according to the IRCC, of the one-million strong study permit holders, 526,015 are studying in Ontario, 202,565 are in British Columbia, 117,925 in Quebec, 18,695 in Saskatchewan, and 10 in Nunavut.

Earlier, Canada already said that much of its population growth is attributed to temporary residents, like workers and students.

In 2023, Canada granted permanent resident status to more than 60,000 international students and this was an increase of 9,670 from the 52,740 international graduates who became permanent residents in 2022.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller said IRCC will closely analyze the number of international students and temporary residents entering the country with the government facing backlash over housing affordability and rising cost of living.

Amid reports of Canada setting a cap on issuing student visas, it doubled the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants starting Jan. 1, 2024 so that international students are financially prepared for life in Canada.

“International students provide significant cultural, social and economic benefits to their communities, but they have also faced challenges navigating life in Canada. We are revising the cost-of-living threshold so that international students understand the true cost of living here. This measure is key to their success in Canada. We are also exploring options to ensure that students find adequate housing. These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation,” Miller said.

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