By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine

Today we bring you news of a major government announcement from Canada, a strategy to double the number of international students to 450,000 by 2022.

The International Education Strategy released by the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, includes some lofty ideals and ambitious targets and goes to great lengths to highlight the positive impacts, both educational and societal, that such as influx of international students would have.

Certainly it is pleasing to hear a government talk in such glowing terms about international education and potential long-term migration of students. And the report has been widely well received by international education bodies, which were extensively consulted in the drawing up of the strategy.

The plan speaks about the importance of collaboration between differing government departments, between the national and provincial governments and between various stakeholders in international education. This is a key aspect of any such plan; too often we see international trade departments speaking enthusiastically about the growth of international students, while immigration departments pull in the opposite direction.

Indeed the Canadian strategy tacitly refers to some areas where Canada has failed to fully implement such as approach and will need to improve in order to be successful in its aims.

Minister Fast acknowledges that more will need to be done to keep visa processing up to speed as demand grows. We have previously reported on how visa processing times in Russia have damaged potential business for Canada, a problem that was greatly accentuated by embassy strikes in 2013, but already existed prior to that.

The strategy also mentions the forthcoming changes from the immigration department to Canada’s International Student Program, but these changes have been “forthcoming” for over a year, a delay that is causing a degree of uncertainty among educators.

Nonetheless, the Canadian strategy is a welcome document from a country that has doubled its number of international students over the last eight years and eagerly anticipates doing the same again.

Elsewhere this week, we have further news stories from the seemingly buoyant junior market, with new players emerging in Spain and the UK. You can also read about the maturing junior segment in greater detail in the cover story of this month’s Study Travel Magazine.

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