Canada issued nearly 450,000 study visas in 2021, breaking an all-time record under its Study Permit program, according to the data released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Of the total study visas issued, 217,410 permits were granted to Indian students, making them the biggest beneficiaries.
The previous all-time record was set in 2019 when the country had issued over 400,000 study permits, and the count fell to 255,000 in 2020 due to the pandemic.
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While India led the pack, other countries which benefited from the study visa approvals were:
1. China- 105,265
2. France- 26,630
3. Iran- 16,900
4. Vietnam- 16,285
The country had around 622,000 international students till December 31, 2021. The foreign student population stood at 640,000 in 2019 but dropped to 530,000 in 2020.
The travel restrictions placed by the Canadian government in March 2020 had deferred the study abroad plans of international students, and hence the fall in visa approvals.
One of the most significant factors that led to the rebound has been lifting the coronavirus-induced restrictions.
Another reason was possibly the enabling Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGPW) policies. As part of the new regulations, international students can avail the benefits of a PGW visa despite learning at a distance mode till August 31, 2022.
Additionally, foreign students who complete their education from a Canadian designated learning institution may also obtain PGPW, allowing them to apply for permanent residency.