ApplyInsights: Study Permit Trends in Canada – China

Welcome to ApplyInsights

This week on ApplyInsights I’ll be sharing observations on China as a leader in students studying abroad. China is the second-largest source market for Canadian institutions, with more than 30,000 international students coming to the country to study every year.

Application Trends

In 2018, Canada received over 35,479 applications from Chinese students, a slight decline of 7.4% from 2017. Of those 35,479 applications, 30,833 visas were approved, representing an 86.9% approval rate.

Applications from Chinese students slowed down in 2019 with Canada only receiving 29,521 applications, an 18.3% decrease over 2018.

The included image shows the total application and visa approvals for Chinese students over the last four years.


Chart showing number of visas approved vs. total visa applications

Study Permit Approvals By Province

Despite Canada seeing a decrease in applications from Chinese students the study permit approval rates remained very high. With 25,610 student visas approved, only a 0.09% decrease from 2018. If we look at the study permit approval rates across all Canadian provinces Manitoba had the lowest approval rate at 87% and Alberta and Newfoundland had the highest rates at 90-91%.

This image shows study permit approval rates by province between January and August 2019.

Study permit approval approval rates by province from January to August 2019

Programs with High Acceptance Rates

Post-graduation studies have seen a high visa acceptance rate for Chinese students since 2018. From January to August 2019 we saw that college applicants’ acceptance rates were also on the rise. Here, you can see 2019’s current program acceptance rates compared to 2018.

Chart comparing average program acceptance rates for Chinese students in 2018 and 2019

Study Permits By Gender

For the last three years, the number of male and female applicants from China have been fairly even, with only a few more male applicants than female. Gender diversity is balanced in terms of visa acceptance rates, although female acceptance rates are slightly higher than male. This chart shows the total Chinese applicants over the last three years, broken down by gender.

Chart comparing the number of study permit applications from China for males and females

The Future of Chinese Students in Canada

Canada is an incredibly popular study abroad destination for Chinese students, who made up an impressive 24.98% of all international students in Canada in 2018, according to an article published by ICEF. Although we’ve seen a slight decrease year-over-year in Chinese applicants, positive updates to the Student Direct Stream (SDS) and a growing demand for higher international numbers on campuses will likely mean that the number of Chinese students studying in Canada will remain fairly consistent, with the potential for an increase.

Over the last 2 years, we have noticed the slow decline in the total number of new students coming to Canada from China. Will this trend continue?

ApplyInsights is our new bi-weekly feature on the ApplyBoard Blog. Every other week, ApplyBoard’s Co-Founder and CMO, Meti Basiri, shares exclusive insights and data on industry trends to help you better understand the evolving international student recruitment market.

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Meti BasiriMeti Basiri
Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
Meti is driven by the belief that education is a right, not a privilege. He leads the International Recruitment, Partner Relations, and Marketing teams at ApplyBoard, working to make education accessible to people around the world. Meti has been instrumental in building partnerships with 1,200+ educational institutions across North America and the United Kingdom. Working with over 3,500 international recruitment partners, ApplyBoard has assisted over 70,000 students in their study abroad journey. Follow Meti on LinkedIn for more access to ApplyInsights and key industry trends.