Where the foreign students settle

Certain provinces are winning this lucrative competition

International students want Canadian degrees. They’re cheaper than U.S. degrees and more respected than Australia’s. Canada, meanwhile, loves international students. They pay full-freight tuition, spend tonnes of money while studying, and then make excellent candidates for immigration.

It’s no surprise, then, that foreign student permits grew 26.5 per cent between 2007 and 2011.

But higher education is a provincial realm and some provinces are more aggressively recruiting. Nova Scotia decided in 2009 that foreign students are a solution to the province’s shrinking tax base. British Columbia’s premier said that she’s wants 50 per cent more over the next four years.

As the chart below illustrates, those two aggressive recruiters are already winning the race.Statistic Canada figures show that B.C. has twice its share of international students, while Nova Scotia has 25 per cent more than its share. Ontario attracts slightly more than its share and has seen the most impressive growth since 2007—up 48 per cent. Other provincial politicians should take note.

ProvinceStudent Permits in Dec. 2011Per cent of total foreign permitsPer cent of national populationGrowth in permits over 2007
British Columbia66,55627.813.1+33
Nova Scotia8,5533.52.8+37
New Brunswick3,6121.52.2+11

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, RDM, Preliminary 2011 Data.