According to a recent survey of agents, Canada is the "most appealing study destination." Its popularity is growing, thanks to a robust government response to COVID-19.
According to Navitas Agent Perception Research, more over half (63%) of agents regarded Canada as "extremely appealing," ahead of the United Kingdom (51%), and Australia (49%). The poll gathers agent feedback on COVID-19's impact on international education. The third volume of the research, which will be released in March 2021, is the most extensive to date, with approximately 900 agents from 73 nations participating.
Three-quarters of agents thought that the Canadian government's handling of COVID-19 had made Canada a more appealing study location, thanks to the specific measures put in place for international students, according to the survey. “The government's response has been virtually flawless in this domain,” it stated. “Its policies and communications to international students strike all the appropriate chords. It permitted existing permit holders to enter the country after borders were closed, offered foreign students with access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and interacted with international students and their families in an open and friendly manner.
The Canadian government recently announced temporary adjustments to the Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWP), allowing international students to complete their education online while still being eligible for the PGWP. The Canadian government offered a road to permanent residence for 40,000 overseas graduates after the study was completed, recognising them as vital contributions to the country's social and economic fabric.
In the last two months, a vast majority of agents agree or strongly agree that Canada's reputation as a "secure and stable" and "open and inviting" country has improved. “By 2021, Canada will have acquired an unexpected and commanding position, ranking first in both safety (79 percent agree) and openness (79 percent agree)” (76 percent agree). No other major anglophone destination comes close to matching this score, with the United Kingdom coming in second (with 58 percent and 74 percent, respectively),” it stated.
Studying in a safe and open environment
The survey notes that visa processing is not the most important part of the international student journey, but the process appears highly uncertain for individuals trying to plan for a major life event due to complex and onerous documentation requirements, long and variable wait times, opaque assessment considerations, and unpredictable results in a visa being granted or rejected.
Now, but not forever, the best study destination
The results of the agent survey show that student interest in Canada as a study destination is still high. Students who were unable to complete their studies in Australia and New Zealand, as well as students who opted to change their studies from the previous year in 2021, could be accommodated in Canada. Despite this, international study in Canada is time-sensitive, with the great majority of post-secondary students beginning their studies in the fall.
Unlike Australia, which has two academic entry dates in February and June, everything in Canada rests on September, according to the research. The majority of international students will require at least three to six months to make the appropriate arrangements. If the vaccination rollout is not completed soon enough, and if Canada is unable to deal with visa processing times, huge lines around aircraft, and enforced quarantine, it may miss this window of opportunity.
Read more: Study visa for Canada from Pakistan