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In recent years, Canada has emerged as a new destination to pursue higher studies. With stringent immigration policies restricting the number of student visas and work permits issued in other countries, Canada seems a preferable choice for international students aiming to study and eventually, work and settle abroad. During the period between 2015 and 2017, the total number of international students in Canada has increased by over 40%. International students have also contributed to the growth of Canada’s economy through tuition, accommodation, and other expenses. Around 170,000 jobs were created in the local economy due to the influx of international students. Canada has already reached its goal for the year 2022, of hosting 450,000 international students.
The increasing reputation of Canada as a country with an open, safe, and welcoming environment has made students apply for visas and enrol in premier colleges and universities offering quality education. Further, offers of work permits and permanent residency by the Canadian government have made students prefer colleges in Canada over other premier educational institutions in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Some of the top-ranking Canadian universities offering quality education and research opportunities include University of British Columbia, McGill University, University of Montreal, University of Calgary, University of Victoria, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, and the University of Alberta.
Before choosing programs offered by colleges and universities, it is important to note that not all designated learning institutions in Canada fall under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. A designated learning institution is public or private secondary or post-secondary schools, approved by the government to host international students. Also, the study program needs to be at least 8 months long, offering a certificate, diploma, or degree to ensure eligibility of an international student to apply for a post-graduation work permit.
After applying for a study program offered by an eligible designated learning institution, an international student needs to get an acceptance letter before going for a visa interview. This acceptance letter accompanied by travel documents, health insurance, and proof of financial means to support self and family during the stay in Canada is necessary for getting a study permit.
The tuition fees and cost of living for students is relatively lower in comparison to other competing countries. There are multiple accommodation options available for international students. On-campus housing as in dormitories is convenient for students to avail amenities within close proximity. On-campus housing also helps international students to socialize through campus events and activities.
Off-campus housing can be a more affordable option depending on location. Also, many local families host international students by arranging homestays that might be the most inexpensive option for accommodation. Students can enquire about such homestay arrangements online or through their school’s student service staffs. International students also need to register for student ID cards, and public transport passes to avail student discounts and benefits while travelling.
For Indian students, it might take some time to adjust to a new country with a different culture than their own. The cold climate of Canada, especially during winters, also needs time to get adapted to. Local food and accent can appear as initial hurdles while settling down in a new country.
International students with study permits mentioning on- or off-campus can start working once their study programs commence. This gives an opportunity for students to work and gain professional experience while studying. Before starting work, a student needs to set up a bank account and apply for a social insurance number (SIN) that permits working 20 hours per week off-campus and full-time during academic breaks.
Being a student in a new country is overwhelming and hectic. In between attending classes, working part-time, and trying to adjust with newness around, let Religare Health Insurance’s student travel insurance plan take care of your unforeseeable expenses such as accidents or any other mishappenings.
After completing the duration of the course and receiving final marks as issued by the school, an international student gets 180 days to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). It is a requisite that the student’s study permit is valid through this duration. After applying, students with valid study permits can work full-time while their PGWP applications are under review.
Upon completion of studies, international students in Canada are eligible to receive work permits valid up to three years. International students are further encouraged to apply for permanent residencies. This is in stark contrast with other countries where students are expected to go back after completing the duration of their courses. It is estimated that Canada might be facing a shortage in its workforce by 2025 and hence, the country is welcoming international students who can join the workforce.