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Record number of international students in Greater Montréal

March 20, 2019

While Québec stands to be the ideal destination for a large number of international students, the city’s high attraction factor is once again proven. In 2018, there were around 35,500 international university students in Greater Montréal, which is a 6.1% increase compared to 2017. This sharp increase can be explained by the many advantages offered by the area: world-class educational institutions, low cost of living, a dynamic cultural scene, a promising job market and a safe environment.

Critical importance of international students

Were it not for international students, the number of university students in Greater Montréal would have dropped 0.9% in 2017–2018. By factoring in international students, the total student pool stays positive and increases by 0.3%.

Source: Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI), fall 2018 university enrollments, Montréal International analysis. To view all BCI data (in French), click here.

Recall that in 2018, QS ranked Montréal the best student city in the Americas (4th in the world). Nestpick also named Montréal the second-best city for millennials in 2018.

More and more students choose to stay in Montréal after completing their studies

Over the last four years, the number of post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) issued—allowing international students to work temporarily in Canada—have increased by 19% on average in Greater Montréal. This increase shows that international students are looking for work experience and there are a great number of them who want to stay in Montréal.

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), 2018

Montréal International, via its I choose Montréal (ICM) initiative, is able to reach international students and help them set up in Montréal once they have completed their studies.

Among other things, I choose Montréal organizes activities for discovering Montréal and recruitment activities for all international students in Greater Montréal. The ICM website also provides information on living and working in the city as well as on immigration.


  • Total students in Greater Montréal is equal to the number of national students plus international students.
  • International students are students from outside Canada. They are all enrolled full-time at university.
  • National students comprise Québec students and students from other provinces. They include both part-time and full-time students.