Student posing cheerfully outside her Canadian university campus

Canada leads as the most popular study destination for international students

by IDP IELTS — June 14th, 2021

Canada is known for its top-notch education system, prestigious universities with high graduate employability, and a culture of tolerance and diversity. It’s no wonder that Canada is such a popular place to live, study and work!

Canada, New Zealand and Australia have overtaken the United States as the most popular study destinations for international students. This is according to a survey conducted by IDP Connect International Student Crossroads IV research, to better understand the opinions of students on international education.

Canada led on issues directly related to international students, particularly for its student welfare, economic stability, welcoming policies and attractive post-study rights. And, students rated New Zealand as the country that responded best to the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK was seen to be in the middle of the pack in almost all categories.

Andrew Barkla, CEO of IDP Education, said Canada continues to set the tone in its progressive policies and communication with students, but this approach can be and should be adopted by all major study destinations.

If you’re in Australia and are considering Canada as your next destination to continue your education and launch your career, look no further. In this article, we cover the benefits of studying in Canada and frequently asked questions about studying and working in Canada.

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Benefits of studying in Canada

What are the benefits of studying in Canada? We’ve listed the top reasons to apply to study in Canada.

  • Quality education

The quality of education and living standards in Canada are amongst the highest in the world. According to the QS World University rankings 2021, Canada is home to 10 of the top 250 universities in the world. This means that you’ll be earning a high-quality education that will open doors for your future and benefit your career over the long term.

  • Migration opportunities

Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PWPP) allows students to stay and work in Canada for up to three years after they graduate. You can use this valuable time to experience life in Canada and gain some work experience. Having relevant work experience is essential to being successful in your Canada PR application.

  • Affordable education

Canada is known for having some of the lowest living and university tuition fees among English-speaking countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Whatever your budget may be, you’ll find something ideal for you in the country’s diverse range of education options.

  • Friendly immigration policies

Canada continues to be an attractive study destination for prospective international students due to its friendly immigration policies, post-study work rights, and post-graduation employment opportunities.

  • Diversity

As a student living in Canada, you can expect a peaceful, multicultural environment as people are very accepting and welcoming. Known for its richness in cultures, Canada is home to millions of immigrants for generations, a place where people from every corner of life can experience and share their language, art, heritage, food, and traditions under one roof.

  • Innovative with many research opportunities

Did you know that Frederick Banting and Charles Best who graduated from the University of Toronto discovered insulin? Research is one of the key components of a Canadian post-secondary education, so you’ll have ample opportunity to become a part of this vibrant aspect of education.

A significant part of the research work that has been made in Canadian universities has led to interesting new theories and notable discoveries, namely, new methods meant to protect the world’s oceans and successful treatment of HIV/AIDS.

  • World-class language education

The bilingual character of Canada is an important part of their national identity and education. Canada is considered a world leader in language training and universities teach both French and English as a first and second language. Consequently, you’ll be able to improve your fluency and capacity for either language as you further your studies and become more desirable to your employers.

  • Healthy and safe communities

The United Nations consistently ranks Canada as one of the best places in the world to live in. It’s one of the safest countries in the world. As an international student in Canada, you’ll enjoy all of the same freedoms which protect Canadians regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation. You’ll experience equality and a stable and peaceful society.

  • Exciting campus lifestyle

There’s more to university life than attending lectures, reading books, presenting projects and completing assignments. University life is meant to be fun. From Olympic-quality sports facilities to public concert halls and art galleries, Canada’s post-secondary campuses offer you enormous possibilities for learning and leisure.

  • Beautiful landscape

Canada’s much-respected diversity isn’t just about people, cultures, and languages. It’s also about the spectacular views across the Great White North. From the ski slopes of British Columbia to the prairie province of Manitoba, Canada has got it all to make your study and stay a memorable experience.

  • Employment prospects

Canadian education is recognized all over the world and the skills you gain from studying in Canada make you very attractive to potential employers. In Canada, international students may be eligible to work while studying and also upon finishing a degree or diploma.

Are you thinking of studying in Canada? Book an appointment to discuss your study options in Canada with an IDP counsellor.

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The IELTS Academic test is accepted by some 400 Canadian universities and colleges as evidence of your English language proficiency

If you intend to migrate to Canada, it’s likely you need to provide evidence of your English language skills. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) trusts IELTS for all visas that require you to provide proof of English language proficiency. IELTS General Training is the only internationally available English proficiency test accepted.

IELTS is the world’s most popular test of English. Available at 50 test centres in Australia, IELTS is the English language test that supports your Canadian study, migration and career goals.

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Immigration and the law

Content on this page is for general information on immigration to Canada and does not constitute legal advice or immigration advice. Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the IRCC website for changes that may apply to you.

If you are interested in Canadian student and work visas or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Canadian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or registered Canadian Immigration Consultant.

Studying and working in Canada

From planning your move, to graduation and beyond, learn what you need to know about studying and working in Canada as an international student. Find the answer right here with our FAQs.

Source: IRCC and EduCanada
What are the requirements for Canadian universities?
What are the requirements for Canadian universities?

Universities and academic institutions in Canada have different requirements. So, what is the best way to find out what the requirements are for the course you’re interested in? Contact the course provider directly to learn how to apply.

Make sure you apply at least one year in advance for a post-secondary program at a university or college. They’ll give you the list of all the documents you need to send them and will be able to tell you about the:

  • cost to apply
  • tuition fees
  • health insurance
  • rent and how much it costs to live in Canada
  • language tests

Are you thinking of studying in Canada? Book an appointment to discuss your study options in Canada with an IDP counsellor.

Get FREE study counselling

How do I choose the right Canadian educational institution and program for me?
How do I choose the right Canadian educational institution and program for me?

You can book a free counselling session with our experienced counsellors who can advise you on course selection and application submission and scholarships. Additionally, you can get more information about education in Canada with study program search and costs from EduCanada.

What are the top courses to study in Canada?
What are the top courses to study in Canada?

IDP’s education counsellor can help you access the latest information on your study options.

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What are the English language requirements to study in Canada?
What are the English language requirements to study in Canada?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most preferred English language proficiency test accepted by almost all institutions in Canada. If you intend to study in Canada, it’s likely you need to provide evidence of your English. Schools and Universities in Canada trust IELTS Academic as proof of your English language proficiency. Find out what the minimum IELTS requirements are for Canada’s Top 10 universities.

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What is a study permit?
What is a study permit for Canada?

It’s a written authorisation issued by an officer allowing citizens of other countries to study in Canada. If you hold a study permit, you must remain enrolled and complete your course. Please note that a study permit expires 90 days after your study program has been completed. Your program is considered complete when you receive a notification of program completion from your school.

A study permit is not a visa, so it’s always accompanied with a visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). Essentially, a study permit is a document that allows you to study in Canada whereas a visitor visa or ETA allows you to enter the country. IDP’s education counsellor can help you access the latest information on your study options.

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Who can apply for a study permit?
Who can apply for a Canadian study permit?

You can apply and study in Canada if you:

  • are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • prove you have enough money to pay for your:
    • course fees
    • living expenses for yourself and all family members who come with you to Canada and
    • return fare for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
  • obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if necessary)
  • are healthy and get a medical exam (if necessary)
  • prove to an officer that you’ll leave Canada when your study permit expires
What is a Student Direct Stream?
What is a Student Direct Stream?

If you are from:

  • China
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Pakistan
  • Vietnam
  • The Philippines

You can get your study permit through the student direct stream. This takes about 20 days, and expedites the process.

What is a designated learning institution (DLI)?
What is a designated learning institution (DLI)?

A designated learning institution is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. To apply for a study permit, you need an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution.

What do I need to apply for a Canadian study permit?
What do I need to apply for a Canadian study permit?

To apply for your study permit, you’ll need:

  • an acceptance letter from your education institution, and
  • a valid passport or travel document
  • proof that you can support yourself or any family members who might accompany you, while you’re in Canada
  • you may also need:
    • a letter of explanation
    • a certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)
    • a custodian declaration (minors only)
    • other documents
Check the minimum funds that you need in your bank account as an international student (and family members who come with you):
Outside Quebec
Persons coming to Canada Funds required per year (without tuition fees) Funds required per month (in addition to the tuition fees)
Student (you) CAN$10,000 CAN$833
First family member CAN$4,000 CAN$333
Every additional family member CAN$3,000 CAN$255
In Quebec
Persons coming to Canada Funds required per year (additional to the tuition fees) Funds required per month (additional to the tuition fees)
Student (you) CAN$11,000 CAN$917
First family member (18 years or older) CAN$5,100 CAN$425
First family member (under the age of 18) CAN$3,800 CAN$317
Every additional family member (18 years or older) CAN$5,125 CAN$427
Every additional family member (under the age of 18) CAN$1,903 CAN$159
What do I need to prove I can financially support myself or any accompanying family members?
What do I need to prove I can financially support myself or any accompanying family members in Canada?

To prove you can financially support yourself and any accompanying family members, you may be asked to provide:

  • documentation of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada
  • documentation of a student/education loan from a financial institution
  • bank statements
  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees
  • a letter for the person or institution providing your funding
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada if you have a scholarship or are enrolled in a Canadian-funded educational program
How do I apply for my Canadian study permit?
How do I apply for my Canadian study permit?

You should apply online for a study permit. You can apply up to three months before your intended date of travel to Canada. Bear in mind, your application date is the date when your application fee is paid.

When should I apply for my Canadian student permit?
When should I apply for my Canadian student permit?

Once you receive your letter of acceptance, apply for you student permit immediately. The times needed to process your application may vary among visa offices.

How much is the fee to apply for a student permit in Canada?
How much is the fee to apply for a student permit in Canada?

As an applicant from outside Canada, the study permit fee is CAD$150 (check here for the latest published fee)

How do I pay for my study permit in Canada?
How do I pay for my study permit in Canada?

Visit this page to learn about the methods of payment accepted by Canadian visa offices. You can pay your fees in different ways depending on the fee type and where you are paying from.

Can I work in Canada as an international student?
Can I work in Canada as an international student?

You can only start working in Canada when you start your study program. You’re allowed to work for 20 hours per week during an ongoing session and full-time during vacations. During scheduled breaks in the school year, you’re allowed to work overtime or work 2 part-time jobs.

You must be a full-time student both before and after the break to work full-time. Unfortunately, you can’t work during a break that comes before you start your very first school semester. You must be a full-time student both before and after the break to work full-time.

You may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if you graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) and want to stay in Canada temporarily to work. Take note that you can get up to three years of extension post completion of your studies depending on your program duration.

How can I work in Canada after I graduate?
How can I work in Canada after I graduate?

You may apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if you graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) and want to stay in Canada temporarily to work.

First check the DLI list to find out which schools have eligible programs and you have 180 days after you get your final marks to apply for a PGWP.

For a one-year program, you can acquire a work permit of one year while for programs with duration of 2-4 years, you can get a work permit of up to 3 years (visa rules are subject to change, please check the official website for the same).

Check the Top 10 Jobs in Canada for 2021

What are the top jobs in Canada for 2021?
What are the top jobs in Canada for 2021?

The forecast for 2021 is good for most sectors. Randstad Canada believes that if you have specialised skills, there will be a job for you to show your strengths. For job seekers, skills related to e-commerce, computer science, security and healthcare will be most in-demand. Learn more the top 10 jobs that has been predicted to be in high demand throughout 2021.

Check the Top 10 Jobs in Canada for 2021

Can my spouse or common-law partner work in Canada while I study?
Can my spouse or common-law partner work in Canada while I study?

In most cases, your spouse or common-law partner can work in Canada if they have a work permit to work in Canada. They must apply for their own work permit. Check the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for the complete list of eligibility requirements for your spouse or common-law partner to work in Canada.

I arrived with my family and remembered feeling very excited about how my life would be like in 10 years. This was the start of my life in Canada.
Estelle Nathan has called Canada, the land of maple leaf, home for 13 years.