Canada has rapidly become one of the most sought after countries for international students and professionals hoping to immigrate. The country has abundant natural resources and a multifarious environment. The capital city, Ottawa, along with cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Hamilton and Regina are some of the most populated and liveable cities in the country. Canada has cemented its place as a strong supporter of arts. The country holds various festivals to celebrate music, dance and sports.

The country ranks high in terms of the quality of life it provides for its citizens, government transparency, economic freedom and education. It is so popular that the country welcomes at least 250,000 new immigrants every year. The country is ranked as one of the safest in the world. In fact an OECD report in 2014 gave it a 9.7 out of a possible 10 for safety. Canada is also ranked right at the top according to OECD in its treatment of minorities. This, along with a strong and stable economy, have made the country a sought after destination among millions around the world.

Canadian winters are legendary for their severity. Temperatures regularly fall below freezing in most parts of Canada during winter. The South Western coast has relatively milder temperatures. The country is blessed with amazing scenic beauty, mountains, forests, and some of the most virgin territories in the Northern hemisphere. There is really nothing as beautiful in the world as watching the glimmering aurora borealis in the northern territories of Canada. The country offers unending delights for nature lovers and is a veritable bonanza of incredible natural structures.

The country is ranked as the second most conducive place to do business in the world according to Bloomberg. The World Economic Forum considers Canada’s banking system to be the most stable in the world. Moreover, the country has a low inflation rate which ensures that a family can reap many benefits even at a reasonable cost of living.

Canada also has one of the best education systems in the world. Almost 51% of Canadians are college educated and education is compulsory till one is 16 years of age in this country. Moreover, Canada boasts of some of the most influential universities in the world. The programmes offered in most Canadian universities balance practical work and theoretical learning giving a complete hands-on education experience to students. It is also important to note that students who have studied in Canada can apply for a permanent residency for Canada without moving out of the country.

Being a largely immigrant populated country, Canada has one of the diverse and integrated populations in the world. People from all over the world come to build their lives in Canada. The main languages spoken in the country are English and French. Over and above that there are over 67 aboriginal tongues that are alive and spoken around Canada. The influx of Chinese in Canada has also made Mandarin as one of the most widely spoken languages in the country. Punjabi, too, is one of the more common languages in the country.

All of these points together make Canada one of the most sought after destinations among students around the world. The glut of prosperous industries along with a strong economy, a polite population, safe environs and a diverse population are some of the biggest attractions of a country such as Canada.

Canada is rapidly becoming the country of choice among international students. Almost 200,000 students flock to Canada to make the most of its amazing education system every year. It is important to note that Canada spends more per capita on its education system than any other associated with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Education credentials earned from Canadian institutes are recognized the world over.

Canadian universities and education institutions offered some well-tailored programmes in a variety of fields. The courses may differ slightly from institute to institute but all in all these courses aim to provide comprehensive support and peerless teaching and training to students that enrol with them. A delightful little factoid that is really attractive to most students is that 90% of students who graduate from Canadian institutes get employed in their fields within 6 months of graduation.

With over 200 institutions around the country, there are a number of specializations on offer. The courses are relatively cheaper than the US and the slow rate of inflation ensures that the cost of living too isn’t too high. International students are given a number of facilities by universities from student clubs to academic advisors, no stones are left unturned to provide them the support they need. International students are also allowed to work for stipulated hours during their course and full time during the holidays.

Canada’s rich culture, which has been fed by a strong stream of immigrants over the years, is a great place to study. It provides ample time for learning and leisure in equal measure. It has numerous avenues for indulging in one’s love for art, sports or music. Studying here will give you innumerable opportunities for meeting like-minded people and get the required life experience before plunging into the professional world.

Students who are studying in Canada for a one year course are given one year to work in Canada. While students who enrol in courses of 2 years are given 2-3 years to work in the country. This additional time is a huge benefit for students. Moreover you can also apply for permanent residency of Canada while working in Canada. If you have a PR then you can apply for a Canadian citizenship within 3 years. With Canada being a safe, economically strong country, it is not a surprise that so many students are eager to make Canada their education destination.

Canada stands head and shoulder above other countries in terms of its per capita spending on post-secondary education. The education system of Canada is divided in 3 sections – Elementary, Secondary and Post-Secondary. There is no real federal system of education in Canada. The Education in this country is under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories. Canada’s exemplary commitment to education is showcased by the fact that public education here is free till the secondary school.

Education after secondary school are either community colleges or universities. In post-secondary section education institutes are divided into the following brackets:

Certificate – These courses are about a year in length.

Diploma – These courses are two years in length.

Advanced Diploma – A 3 year programme which can also open the door to a bachelor’s degree.

Post Graduate Diplomas/Certificates – These programmes usually last for 12 to 17 weeks and are a gateway to a master’s degree. They provide practical experience and theoretical study and are sometimes a prerequisite to participate in a bachelor’s programme.

Bachelor’s Degree – Awarded by universities, colleges and community colleges after four years of study and are usually followed with graduate level studies.

Master’s Degree – Graduates who want to pursue learning and research in their field and increase the scope of occupation after education, usually go for master’s degree. These degrees are usually 2 years long and are usually done after a 4 year or 3 year bachelor programme.

Doctorate or PhD – Ranking above the master degree it generally takes about 4 to 7 years to finish.

These courses in the various colleges, universities and education institutes in Canada provide students with ample opportunities to broaden their educational horizons. The degrees obtained here are considered at par with US universities and that of other commonwealth countries.

If a student wants to study in Canada he or she better start preparing for it a year in advance. A major intake for Canadian education institutes is usually in September, or fall. There is another intake in January as well for winter but that is usually dependent on the program a student is opting for and the institution he or she is applying for. There are a select few institutes that also have a May intake.

Fluency in English is a major prerequisite for applying for education to Canadian institutions. Every international student is required to take the IELTS or TOEFL exams. An IELTS score of 6.0  to 6.5 for undergraduates and 6.5 to 7.0 for postgraduate courses are required. A TOEFL score of 80 and above for undergraduates and 90 and above for postgraduate courses is necessary.

Advanced diploma, diploma or certificate programmes usually require students to have a higher second class in their HSC examinations. Bachelor degrees require a first class in HSC examinations while postgraduate certificate or diplomas require a higher second class in a bachelor course of three or four years previously undertaken. A masters degree usually requires a first class in bachelors degree, if the course is of four years. If the course is of three years a one year masters degree is required.

Canadian colleges, universities and institutes offer course fees that are lower than many other countries, especially the US. Canadian education institutes receive grants from their respective provincial governments. This works for the students’ benefit in two ways, it helps them get education at the highest standards and also offsets the institution’s costs thus making education cheaper.

Tuition fees for Canadian education institutions vary from course to course and among different organisations as well. An average cost of education can range from $12,000 to $40,000 (Canadian dollars). Over and above tuition fees the international student application fees cost something around $250, there are also student services fees that range from $500 to $1000 along with a $150 charge for study permit with a biometric processing fee of $85.

There is also the question of living expenses when studying abroad. Rent prices in Canada vary from town to town and can range from $500 to $1500 per month. There will also be additional costs of electricity, phone, internet and cable television among others. Students usually share apartments to reduce the load of the rent they are facing. There is also the additional cost of transportation, buying a car may be a little expensive, monthly passes for public transportation can range from $80 to $110. Public transport also has a lot of discounts a student can avail of. International students are also expected to have health insurance when they are studying in Canada. The coverage for these insurance policies range from province to province.

A Canadian study permit is essential for anyone who wants to study in Canada. This study permit functions as a student visa for the duration of your stay. If your course lasts for less than six months you do not need a student visa, however, any course longer than that requires a student visa. But if you are planning on studying further after those six months then it might be a good idea to apply for a student visa from the outset.

If you have a Canadian study permit you can renew it while staying in Canada itself. This kind of a work permit will also allow you to work part-time on-campus. It may also allow you to work off-campus or as an intern as a part of your programme. It is important to note that online applications for student visas are twice as fast as paper applications.

Visa applications will require a health check-up and a police clearance certificate. The timelines on student visas, or any visas for that matter, are quite strict and may need you to have all your documents handy beforehand. International students are also expected to show proof of funds. 10,000 Canadian dollars is the amount that is required for a year’s worth of stay in Canada needs to be in your name. Quebec requires the proof of funds to be $11,000 instead of ten thousand.

Work permits for international students are a big attraction for most aspirants. A 2 year course allows you a work permit of 3 years, while a one year course allows you a permit of one year. There are not restriction on the kind of employment that you may get after your graduation.

Canada is a leader in modern technology. It leads in the field of Java programming, networking, wireless communications and computer technology. The fields of telecommunications, transportation, engineering and micro-electronics are just some of the most prominent industries of Canada. Companies like Black Berry, IMAX, Corel, etc. are famous around the world and are Canadian run. In fact 18 of the top 40 engineering faculties in Canada are found in Canada according to the Gourmand Report.

Most students are also eligible for working while they are studying and this experience prepares them to be integrated into the workforce on graduating. Many education institutions also provide co-operative education opportunities which allow for alternating periods of work and study. This helps students not only get a handle on their education requirements but also keep earning their livelihood while at it.

What is the ICCRC membership and what is its importance?

The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is a non-profit organisation that is put in place by the Canadian government to regulate the immigration consulting profession. Rao Consultants are proud, longstanding members of the ICCRC. The Council safeguards the interests of the consumers by regulating and keeping tabs on the immigration consultants that provide immigration consultation to interested individuals. It should be noted, however, that it is not mandatory for students to apply via an ICCRC member.

Is there a difference between a university and a college in Canada?

Education institutions that are attended after at least 12 years of school or after secondary school are universities. These institutions usually lead to a degree and/or research. All Canadian Universities offer four year bachelors degree programs. A majority of them offer a one to two year of master’s degree while quite a few also offer doctoral and PhD programmes. Bachelor’s degrees, however, can be offered by universities, colleges and some other education institutions. Community colleges offer two year courses that are either technical or vocational. These courses can be used for a transfer to a university or can lead to a certificate or a diploma. These community colleges do not usually offer degree programs.

Can I work while I study in Canada?

You are, under certain circumstances, allowed to work while studying in Canada. When you are applying for your student visa, however, you are required to prove to your visa officer that you have enough finances to support yourself for the duration of your study program. International students are allowed to work on the campus or off-campus, although off-campus is authorized only 6 months into the course.
Full time students can work in their institutions without any employment authorization. International students are allowed to work up to 20 hours every week when their course is on and 40 hours per week during their vacations. They can expect to earn around 7 to 10 Canadian dollars per hour. During co-op terms students can earn up to 10 to 15 Canadian dollars an hour. This can amount to about 400 to 1000 Canadian dollars every month.

Is there any value to doing a diploma in Canada?

Yes. Canada offers a huge array of career-oriented programs. These range from advanced diplomas to certificate courses. These courses are specifically designed so as to give students the opportunity to learn and develop skills that are marketable in the modern workplace. These courses highlight the technical aspects and focus on providing hands-on experience about the fundamental nitty-gritties of the programme. Diplomas and certificate courses offer students the practical background they need to become more hireable by employers in the country. It is very much a possibility that students that do vocational programmes get better salaries than those that have done a university programme.

Is health insurance mandatory?

Health insurance is mandatory for studying in Canada. You will need to procure health insurance before you reach Canada. Medical coverage changes from province to province and often from university to university. Most universities have health insurance coverage as a part of their fees.

Can a spouse be included in a student’s application?

A valid study permit holder who is doing a full-time course at a post-secondary institution is eligible for an open work permit. The open work permit for a spouse or a common law partner may be valid for the same period of time as the study permit, or as long as the study permit remains valid. The applicant needs to indicate in their applications if their spouse or partner will be accompanying them to Canada. If the spouse or partner decides, at a later stage, to study in Canada they need to submit a separate application.

Can I work in Canada after graduation?

Yes. If you have studied for a one year degree you get a one year work permit, if your course is of two years you can get a work permit for two to three years, depending upon your course and duration of the same.

Is it possible to gain an extension on my student permit?

Yes you can, although you will need to contact your nearest Canadian Immigration Centre at least two months before your study permit authorization expires.

Does a dependent child who will be studying in Canada need a separate study permit?

An individual who is already in Canada on a study or work permit will not need to get a separate study permit for his or her minor child. The study permit the individual has applied for should have already indicated that their minor child would be accompanying them. The age of majority differs slightly in different provinces, although it is usually around 18 or 19.

Are any immigration programmes open for international students hoping to settle permanently in Canada?

Education in Canada is often considered as a safe route to getting permanent residency of Canada. There are a number of federal and provincial programmes that offer international students a means to settle in Canada. This is possible even without a job offer. Canadian education and job experience usually gains you additional points on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used for Express Entry.