Many students from all over the globe continue to choose Canada over the United Kingdom (UK), Australia and the United States of America (USA) as their top study destination, most recently due to how the Canadian government handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Navitas Agent Perception Research, 63% of agents rated Canada as “very attractive,” ahead of the UK and Australia at 51% and 49% respectively. The survey gathered the views and opinions of nearly 900 agents in 73 countries around the world on the impact that COVID-19 had on international education.
Three-quarters of agents agreed that the Canadian government’s handling of the COVID-pandemic and the specific measures put in place for international students made the country a more desirable study destination, thanks to policy changes made to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).
Some of the key policy changes made to benefit international students were to allow up to 100% of their program to be completed online from outside Canada and if a student’s status changes from full-time to part-time, their eligibility for a PGWP would not be impacted.
In a survey from IDP Connect, which had a total of 10,149 respondents from 93 countries, Canada was ranked as the top study destination with 27% of respondents selecting Canada. The USA came in second with 20% and the UK and Australia tied in third with 19%.
Recently Canada became the second most popular destination for prospective students from Hong Kong. The UK was long the most popular choice followed by Australia, the USA and Canada in that order. But after Canada announced its new immigration pathways for Hong Kong residents in 2021, 6,365 Hong Kongers were granted student visas, just behind the 6,511 student visas issued by the UK.
Canada used to be the least popular of the four countries for Hong Kong students studying abroad. Only 2,500 were granted Canadian student visas each year from 2018 to 2020.
In terms of safety, Canada ranks highly and has improved since 2021, with a large proportion of agents agreeing or strongly agreeing that Canada’s reputation is “safe and stable” and “open and welcoming.” In 2021, Canada ranked number one on both safety (79% agree) and openness (76% agree). Out of other English-speaking destinations, no country came close with the UK in distant second place (with 58% and 74% respectively).