Canada will admit more foreign students but fewer foreign workers this year, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said here Friday.
Kenney, who was in India last month, dropped hints that there will be substantial increase in the number of students from India.
Currently, only about 3,000 Indian students are admitted to Canadian institutions each year, as against about 40,000 in Australia and about 80,000 in the US.
Compared to Canada, the minister said, Australia admitted 10 times more students from India each year.
``Canada is looking to Asia as well as India for potential students. Universities are happy to get them,'' he said while addressing a gathering of about 1,500 qualified new immigrants who have failed to find jobs in their respective fields.
According to government figures for 2007, 176,116 foreign students enrolled in Canadian institutions during the year.
Last year, the Canadian government announced that foreign students could seek work permit and later permanent residence upon completion of their graduation.
Though the immigration minister didn't pinpoint how many more foreign students will be admitted this year, he said, ``We are not receiving enough foreign students.''
Because of higher fee structure for international students, foreign students are a huge source of income for Canadian universities.
Apart from bringing revenue to Canada, as the immigration minister pointed out, they can easily be given permanent residence and later citizenship because of their Canadian experience and their understanding of the Canadian market.
Despite the economic downturn, the minister said, Canada admitted ``an unprecedented number'' of permanent and temporary residents in 2008.
``While other countries are talking about taking fewer immigrants, today, I am pleased to announce that in 2008, we increased the number of new permanent residents to Canada,'' he said.
He said 247,202 permanent residents were admitted in 2008 - well within the government's planned yearly quota of 240,000 to 265,000.
Apart from this, 193,061 temporary foreign workers and 79,459 foreign students were also admitted, he said.
However, the minister said he expected a ``significant reduction'' in the number of temporary foreign workers admitted into Canada this year because of the on-going economic crisis.