Higher education that is cheaper than the US and a two-year work visa after graduation is making Canada a popular destination for Indian students.
Canada issued more than 12,000 student visas in 2011 to Indian students, a doubling since 2009 when 6,369 visas were issued to Indians. While the number of Indians choosing Canada is still small compared to the 25,000 plus student visas issued for the UK and US, 2011 figures show a four-fold increase compared to 2007 when 2,520 visas were issued. Figures for 2012 were not yet available but officials said they expected a further increase this year.
“Canada encourages talented individuals who have studied and worked in Canada to stay on there. It offers high-quality, internationally recognised education at an affordable cost in a safe, tolerant and welcoming multicultural environment,” said Simon Cridland, counsellor and head of advocacy programme, High Commission of Canada, via email.
Canada has made significant inroads into the higher education map of Indian students with well-known universities such as McGill University, the University of Toronto, University of Montreal and Schulich School of Business gaining in popularity.
Two Canadian universities broke into the top 20 in the just-released QS World University Rankings for 2012. Canadian courses tend to be cheaper and the work option makes it additionally attractive, say education counsellors.
Five years ago, Priya Malhotra sent her daughter to the US for an undergraduate degree. But now that it is time for her son to start college, she is looking at Canada. “The big bonus is that Canada gives students a two-year work visa which the US doesn’t,” said Malhotra.