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International students help local and provincial economy

If ever there was a case for supporting immigration, teaching foreign nationals is it.

International students are big part of both UNBC and the College of New Caledonia here in Prince George, and they are a big part of the provincial economy … and more students are choosing to get an education in Canada.

In 2015, 130,053 international students studied in B.C. – a 44 per cent increase from 90,037 in 2010. The B.C. international student data for 2016 will be released in mid-2017.

International students spent $3.5 billion on tuition and expenses in 2015, which equalled a $2-billion contribution to the provincial GDP and supported 29,300 jobs in British Columbia, according to numbers released by the province. By comparison, international student spending in 2010 amounted to $2.1 billion, supported 17,900 jobs and contributed $1.2 billion to the provincial GDP. This represents an increase of almost 65 per cent across each of these economic indicators since 2010.

As a service industry, international education is considered to be an “export” from B.C. since funds that support the industry come from outside Canada. In 2015, the export of B.C. international education services was equivalent to nearly 10 per cent of the total value of goods exported by the province. It ranked third when compared with the export of goods, following wood products, and mineral fuels and oils.

“British Columbia continues to be a leader in attracting students from around the world into our language schools, K-12 districts and post-secondary institutions,” said Randall Martin, executive director of the B.C. Council for International Education. “We have a well-earned reputation for quality education, safe communities, quality of life, and both cosmopolitan urban centres and stunning rural communities and geography. International students help to create a substantial number of direct and indirect jobs all across British Columbia and also help to support the diversification of our economy and the internationalization of our work force and communities, better preparing our own students to work and trade in the global economy.”

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