International students contribute more to the Canadian economy than the value of some of the country's top aerospace exports, according to official data.
Foreign students spent eight billion U.S. dollars in Canada in 2010, up from 6.5 billion dollars in 2008, said a Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada study released Friday.
Meanwhile, Canada's exports of helicopters, airplanes and spacecraft totaled 6.9 billion dollars in 2010.
It's estimated that the international student expenditures translated into nearly a 4.9-billion-dollar contribution to Canada's gross domestic product, 86,570 jobs and 455 million dollars in government tax revenue, the study said.
Foreign students staying for at least six months in Canada generated most of the revenue (over 6.9 billion dollars) for the Canadian economy.
Overall, there were more than 218,200 long-term international students in Canada in 2010, an increase from 178,000 in 2008.
Over half of the foreign students are from Asia, primarily China, India, South Korea and Japan.