International Migration Research Centre

Document Type

Policy Points

Publication Date



Department of Geography and Environmental Studies


International students bring immense benefits to Ontario’s postsecondary system and labour market through the financial boon they bring to universities and colleges, their cultural diversity, the positive economic impacts they can have on Canadian society after graduation, and the skills they develop and contribute. However, many international students may find it difficult to transition to permanent residence after graduation, or find the career they seek immediately upon completion of their studies. In addition, little is known about the number of international students transitioning to the labour market, their socioeconomic outcomes, or their success in doing so. The present analysis sought to identify the number of international students who entered Ontario from 2000 to 2012, their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, identify trends in their entry, and identify the ways they most commonly transition to the labour market. It also identified the main policies guiding international student recruitment and transition, and noted the policy changes that would have the most direct effect on international students. This brief summarizes the findings from a research project for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario in 2013-2014.