Visa Crunch

Why do an overwhelming number of students prefer Canada as compared to the US?

The pandemic has put an end to the age-old debate over international students between the United States and Canada. Because of its accommodating immigration policies and support policies, the country has bolstered its appeal as a study destination in recent years. According to data from India’s ministry of external affairs, more Indian students are choosing to travel to Canada rather than the United States.

“Canadian colleges are leaders in applied higher education, offering a variety of recognized credentials such as university transfer programs, academic and applied degrees, and post-graduate diplomas,” Amanda Strohan, Canada’s deputy high commissioner to India, told The Times of India.

Even though the US population is nearly nine times that of Canada, there are far more international students from India with Canadian study permits than there are for American study permits, according to Immigration Canada. There are presently 215,720 Indian students with study permits in Canada, a 1.8 percent increase over the 211,930 in the United States. In the first four years of 2021, the Canadian High Commission in Delhi alone granted 100,000 study permits, a 4.2 percent increase over the same period in 2019.

Although the difference is small now, trends show that Canadians are increasingly preferring the country for a variety of reasons. Recent immigration measures, such as the implementation of the open work permit while waiting for the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) to be approved, will drive it. “Canada, in particular, permitted existing permit holders to enter the country after borders were closed, offered international students with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and tried to communicate openly and positively with international students and their families throughout.”

When it comes to the United States vs. Canada, the latter is on top.  “The Trump administration’s unwelcoming foreign policies drove students to other countries like Canada, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates,” Strohan said. Every year, more Indian students move to Canada in search of well-paid work and permanent residency. According to the IRCC, the number of Indians in Canada who obtained permanent residency increased by 105 percent between 2016 and 2019. These graduates expect a high quality of life thanks to good jobs and inclusive society.

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