January 4, 2018 – The US President’s tough stance on immigration, concerns over racism, and the relatively low cost of quality education has made Canada a popular study and immigration destination for ambitious Indians.
A recent report on international education reveals a significant rise in the number of Indians studying in Canada as compared to a nominal increase in enrollment of new Indian students in US colleges and universities.
Canada continues to lag behind in absolute number of students enrolled—100,000 to 186,267 in the US. Yet, the numbers clearly highlight the changing preferences of students from India.
In 2016-17, the US issued 62,537 study visas to new Indian students, which represented a 16.5% drop as compared to the previous year. In Canada, however, new enrollments in the first ten months of 2017 (54,425) exceeded the total study permits issued throughout 2016 (52,870).
Uncertainty surrounding H1-B visa, which has been the preferred route among Indians seeking work and permanent residence in the US, has impacted the Optional Practical Training program as well. Using OPT, Indian students could continue staying in the US even after completion of the degree. Such training would segue into a formal appointment, facilitated by the H1-B visa followed by, eventually, an application for a Green Card.
Potential absence of the OPT combined with better work opportunities for Indian students, especially those pursuing Science/Tech/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) courses makes Canada an attractive educational destination.
The rhetoric surrounding immigration in the USA has led to a rise in the number of Indians obtaining Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry as well as other options. Approximately 41805 Indians were granted permanent status in 2017 as opposed to 39,790 in 2016 and 39,525 in 2015.
Demand through Express Entry has surged in recent years as 9585 Indians received permanent residence through Express Entry in 2016 representing a 420% increase as compared to 1840 in 2015. Demand to Canada remains steady with the first ten months of 2017 witnessing a 102% rise in successful applicants to 19,370.
The rise in number of Indian candidates in the Canadian Experience Class pool too is indicative of how Indians are viewing Canada as an alternate immigration destination to the USA. As of 2017, there are 7120 Indians in the pool as opposed to 2.360 in 2016 and just 1,170 in 2015.
Finally, the cost of studying in Canada’s top institutions is 30-40% less than that of an American college or university. The trend is expected to continue as Canada’s favourable immigration policies are expected to bring near 600,000 international students to Canada by 2020.
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