Retaining International Students in Canada Post-Graduation: Understanding the Motivations and Drivers of the Decision to Stay

Over the last decade, the enrollment of international students at Canadian educational institutions has been rapidly increasing. This is not surprising given the recent commitment of the Canadian Government to increasing the number of international students studying in Canada, and the policies put into place to support this goal. One important rationale for increasing the number of international students in Canada is the potential for international students to seek permanent residency post-graduation. International students are seen as ideal candidates for permanent residency due to their proficiency in English and/or French, their Canadian education credentials, and their Canadian work experience. In this context, the current research – a partnership among Pathways to Prosperity, World Education Services, and the Canadian Bureau for International Education – addressed the following questions: 1) What are prospective international students’ expectations regarding their transition to permanent resident status in Canada? and 2) Once in Canada, what factors (demographic, economic, sociocultural, academic) predict international students’ intentions to seek permanent residency and to work in Canada post-graduation?