Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
Help shape the future of international education at the ICEF Monitor Global Summit London, September 23rd 2024

Japan and Europe increasingly important sending markets for Canada’s K-12 schools

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • In 2021/22, there were close to 30,000 long-term international students studying in Canadian public schools
  • Long-term enrolments are still down about 34% from their pre-pandemic peak, and short-term enrolments are recovering more slowly
  • China is sending significantly fewer students, which is a major reason for the decline
  • Japan, Hong Kong, and Europe are sending notably more students, and Japan is now the #1 sender of short-term students to Canadian public-schools

International student numbers in Canadian public schools are recovering from steep enrolment drops in the pandemic, according to new data from CAPS-I. Long-term enrolments (four months or longer) reached 24,915 in 2021/22, up from 19,100 the previous academic year. Short-term enrolments (less than four months) were up by 30% over the previous year but CAPS-I notes that these represent “a fraction of pre-pandemic numbers.” Students came to Canada from 131 countries in 2021/21.

International student numbers in Canadian public schools over time. Source: CAPS-I.

Long-term enrolment trends

Peak numbers occurred in 2018/19 (37,970), so long-term international enrolments are still off by 34% from that record high. The relatively slow return to growth for the sector stems in large part from declines from China. China remains the top sender of long-term students to Canadian public schools, but the chart below shows that the flow of students from this market is decreasing – 2021/22 numbers are less than half what they were in 2018/19. Other top markets sending fewer students are South Korea and Vietnam.

Vietnam, like China, sent less than half the number of students in 2021/22 as in 2018/19. The decline here is troubling given that between 2016/17 and 2018/19, Vietnamese long-term enrolments had tripled.

Top senders of long-term international students to Canadian public schools and trends over time. Source: CAPS-I.

The public-school sector was buoyed by significantly more students coming from Japan, Hong Kong, as well as European countries.

Japanese enrolments reached a new high in 2021/22, and there were 40% more students from Hong Kong. Japan is now the fifth most important sender of students.

Germany sent 2,500 more students in 2021/22 than the previous year (for a total 3,254 – a record high). Italy sent 1,300 more students – twice as many as the pre-pandemic record. Spain, Turkey, and Switzerland are also current growth markets for Canadian public schools.

Short-term enrolment trends

Japan sent more short-term students to Canadian public schools than China did in 2020/21, and so did Colombia. Germany and South Korea round out the top five sending markets for short-term students to Canada in 2021/22.

Top senders of short-term international students to Canadian public schools and trends over time. Source: CAPS-I.

For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Australia moves to curtail onshore “visa hopping” Read More
  • ICEF Podcast: The outlook for international education in the USA – live from NAFSA Read More
  • Canada’s Immigration Minister signals that changes are coming to post-study work rights Read More

Most Popular

  • Comparing student visa proof of funds requirements across 20 study destinations Read More
  • Canada: More provincial cap numbers announced; IRCC moves up end date for post-graduate work for partnership programmes Read More
  • Lessons from Denmark: The downside of limiting international student flows Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Australia moves to curtail onshore “visa hopping” Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil announced today the next phase of implementation in the package of...
Read more
ICEF Podcast: The outlook for international education in the USA – live from NAFSA Listen in as ICEF’s Craig Riggs and Martijn van de Veen recap some recent industry news, including an...
Read more
Canada’s Immigration Minister signals that changes are coming to post-study work rights For more than 15 years now, international students have been able to come to Canada, complete any type...
Read more
IDP investor guidance warns of market downturn through 2025 IDP Education is one the largest service providers in international education. As a publicly traded company on the...
Read more
US launches new market diversification dashboard Given the need for new and better ways to collect and interpret data on international student movement, we...
Read more
US ELT sector continues a gradual recovery Intensive English programmes (IEPs) in the United States are reporting more modest growth for 2023, after a post-pandemic...
Read more
Market snapshot: A guide to international student recruitment in Brazil FAST FACTS Capital: Brasília Population: 218 million (2024) Youth population: 44% below the age of 30 Median age:...
Read more
US coalition urges Congress to take action to improve visa processing this year The U.S. for Success Coalition launched a campaign today in a bid to improve visa processing for foreign...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links