Canada has long been one of the world’s most popular destinations for international students but international student recruitment may soon become official government policy if the authors of a new report have their way. The report – which is entitled International Education, a Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity – was compiled by the Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy and calls on that nation’s federal government to bolster the recruitment of international students because, in its words, “international education is a key driver of Canada’s future prosperity.”

If its authors have their way, this means that Canada – already one of the world’s most popular destinations for international students – would be actively seeking to recruit still more students over the coming decade. Though the number of international students studying in the country tripled between 2000 and 2010, the panel believes that (given the rapid growth of international education worldwide) even doubling student enrollment from 239,000 in 2012 to more than 450,000 in 2022 may do little more than maintain Canada’s current 5 percent stake in international student market.

While Canada’s reputation for quality puts it in a good position to attract more students without government action – the Canadian plan aims to increase international student enrollment that will target growth by more than a third since 2007 – and individual provinces have already announced initiatives to recruit more international students, the report’s authors believe that only a “united front” could make the kinds of large-scale structural changes that would enable such a large increase in recruitment.

Though the panel did call on individual provinces to step up their efforts, it also called on the federal government to foster a greater degree of coordination among the provinces, invest in large scale marketing campaigns, and speed up the processing of student visa applications. At the same time it also called for the creation of 8,000 new scholarships for international students to be funded by the federal and provincial governments. In so doing it hopes to increase the visibility – and attractiveness – of the northern nation in the eyes of its would-be international students.