Social characteristics of international students in Ontario and Quebec
Authors: Marshia Akbar and Valerie Preston
The number of foreign students in Canada continues to grow rapidly. Canada was the destination for 7% of the world’s international students in 2017, one of the top three countries that host the largest shares of international students in comparison to their total higher education populations. The flow of international students is uneven across Canada. In 2017, 84% of international students enrolled in three provinces: Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec (CBIE 2018). Using the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), this brief report describes the distribution of international students in Ontario and Quebec and compares their social characteristics and transitions from temporary to permanent status in the two provinces that are major destinations for international students in Canada. Canada’s constitution allows each province to organize and deliver its education programs. Although educational institutions (colleges, universities, and polytechnics) across Canada offer similar programs and credentials, often the length and composition of some programs vary. For example, students in Quebec are required to attend a college (i.e. CÉGEP)2 before enrolling in a university in the province. CÉGEPs offer two types of programs: pre-university program and technical program. For international students, the length and characteristics of post-secondary programs may have a direct impact on their eligibility for employment and immigration opportunities in Canada. Data analysis reveals that international students are more likely to attend universities in Quebec than in Ontario. Maybe a college degree in Ontario is sufficient for international students to obtain employment and transition to permanent status. Two IMDB data files are used in this analysis: Non-permanent Resident File (NRF) and Integrated Permanent and Non-permanent Resident File (PNRF). The NRF contains information about people who entered Canada as non-permanent residents between 1980 and 2015. It allows us to examine trends in province of study and level of study. The PNRF contains detailed data about the sociodemographic characteristics of immigrants who landed in Canada between 1980 and 2015 including those who were non-permanent residents prior to landing. The data provide a snapshot of international students in Ontario and Quebec who transitioned from temporary to permanent residence. Key Findings * Ontario has been the destination for almost half of international students arriving in Canada. * Most international students did not become permanent residents of Canada. Between 1980 and 2015, only a minority, 38%, obtained permanent residence. * Place matters: -International students are more likely to enroll at universities in Quebec than in Ontario. -Unlike in Ontario, men comprise the majority (58%) of international students who became permanent residents in Quebec. -There is a gender gap among international students with men more likely to enrollat universities than women and the gap is larger in Ontario than in Quebec. -Almost half of Quebec’s international students are bilingual compared to only 3.7% in Ontario. Provincial differences in the total number, level of study, gender and language fluency of international students are important for immigrant-serving organisations that strive to tailor appropriate and effective services and programs.
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