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Unraveling the Mystery: Insights into Study Permit Trends Among International Students in Canada

international students

The Canadian landscape of international education is undergoing a notable shift, as evidenced by recent studies, including one by Statistics Canada. In an intriguing revelation, the report by Youjin Choi and Feng Hou highlights that nearly a quarter of postsecondary study permit holders in 2019 did not enroll in publicly funded institutions. This finding prompts a deeper exploration into the activities and choices of these students, offering a unique perspective on the dynamics of international education in Canada.

In 2019, Canada saw about 717,300 individuals holding postsecondary study permits. Surprisingly, 24% of these permit holders were not found in the Post-secondary Student Information System (PSIS), indicating non-enrollment in publicly funded postsecondary institutions. This statistic sheds light on a significant portion of the international student population, often overlooked in discussions about the educational landscape.

The study delves deeper, revealing that over half of these non-enrolled students were engaged in other activities within Canada. It's notable that a third of these students also held work permits, suggesting a dual intent of gaining work experience alongside their educational pursuits. The industries where these students found employment do not align with the typical co-op programs, debunking the theory that these were primarily co-op students.

Furthermore, the report highlights regional nuances in study permit trends. For instance, a higher proportion of non-enrolled students intended to study in British Columbia compared to their enrolled counterparts. This regional preference could be indicative of various factors, including the presence of private institutions or specific industry opportunities.

The demographic makeup of these non-enrolled students also offers valuable insights. A substantial proportion of these students hailed from India, particularly in non-university postsecondary programs. This demographic trend underscores the diverse aspirations and educational pursuits of international students in Canada.

Importantly, the report suggests that a significant percentage of these non-enrolled students might be pursuing education in private institutions, as indicated by their tax filings. While the data doesn't provide a conclusive picture of enrolments in private institutions, it certainly opens up avenues for further research and understanding.

As an RCIC and the proprietor of Mesidor Canadian Immigration Services, it's crucial to understand these emerging trends and their implications for international students. The report highlights the evolving landscape of international education in Canada, offering insights that are invaluable for students planning their educational journey in Canada.

In conclusion, the report "Characteristics of postsecondary international students who did not enrol in publicly funded postsecondary education programs" provides a nuanced understanding of the study permit trends in Canada. It underscores the importance of considering diverse educational pathways and the regional preferences of international students. As the Canadian educational landscape continues to evolve, Mesidor Canadian Immigration Services remains committed to guiding students through their immigration and educational journey in Canada.

For further exploration of this topic, I invite readers to engage with Mesidor Canadian Immigration Services for comprehensive and personalized guidance on Canadian immigration and study pathways.


  1. Characteristics of postsecondary international students who did not enrol in publicly funded postsecondary education programs:

  2. A comparison of postsecondary enrolment trends between domestic and international students by field of study:

  3. The Postsecondary Experience and Early Labour Market Outcomes of International Study Permit Holders:

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