The Royal Society of Canada’s recent report on The Supporting Canada’s Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery Through Robust Immigration Policy and Programs found that international students have been facing various challenges due to COVID-19 such as delays in visa processing, stress, anxiety and inability to apply for emergency social and financial relief.
The new report suggested that the government of Canada must take required action to support international students affected by the pandemic if the country wants to make the most out of them and contribute to its economy.
The report pointed out the system’s vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic and how the government can optimise immigration for Canada.
According to the report, international students are seen as a crucial source of skilled migrants with many overseas students enrolled at the postsecondary institutions. They are comparatively young, have Canadian educational qualifications and are proficient in at least one official language who can meet the country’s current labour market needs especially for highly skilled workers.
According to data published by CBIE, by December 2019, Canada saw a 185% increase in the number of international students, compared to 2010, amounting for over 642,000 international students.
This growth made Canada the third best study destination globally, a trend that the country wished to keep working on. However, it is due to the pandemic that prospective and current international students are facing multiple challenges.
A survey conducted by World Education Services in June 2020 found that 26% of international students had lost their primary source of income and 34% were finding it difficult to pay rent or afford utilities.
According to a report published by Statistics Canada, around 58% of study permits issued to international students decreased in June to August last year, compared to the same period in 2019.
The report also projected a loss of $377 million to $3.4 billion in universities during the 2020-21 academic year, which may depend on the size of reduction of international student enrolments.