Indian students moving to Canada, not to the USA. Looks like for Indian students the American dream is becoming a Canadian one. Let’s find out why the change.
For graduate students from India, America seems to have lost its charm as the ultimate destination. Instead, Canada is emerging as a better alternative.
This trend had begun even before international travel was suspended because of COVID-19. With increasing restrictions and the fear of Optional Practical Training (OPT) for international students being eliminated, this trend may accelerate.
Indian Students In Graduate Programs In The USA
As recently as the academic year 2016-17, Indians accounted for 67% of the international student population.
However, according to data for the academic year 2018-19, the number of Indians enrolled in graduate-level engineering and computer science courses had fallen by over 25%.
Indian Students In Undergraduate Programs In The USA
At an undergraduate level, engineering and computer science courses have not shown the same trends.
The number of Indians enrolled in undergraduate computer science and engineering courses increased by a few hundred.
Indian students in Graduate Programs in Canada
For the same period from 2016 to 2018, the number of Indian students at the graduate level increased by almost 100,000. This marked an increase of 127%.
- 2016-17: 76,075
- 2018-19: 172,625
The number of Indians opting for permanent residency also increased with a growth of more than 117%.
- 2018-19: 85,585
Indian Students Moving To Canada – What’s Driving Indian Students Away from the USA?
Multiple factors are influencing Indian students to choose Canadas as a study destination instead of the USA. Key amongst them are the US government’s restrictive immigration and international student policies and the increased difficulty of obtaining green cards and jobs after graduation.
Efforts to restrict OPT are not new and first started in 2015 when a bill was drafted to prohibit international student graduates from working in the USA unless they had at least 10 years of work experience outside the USA.
Unlike America’s restrictive immigration policies, Canada has been developing incentives for international students.
Under the Student direct Stream, Indian students enrolled in designated colleges and universities can fast track their application for residency and citizenship as long as they are financially stable and pass the English-language exam.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is also an influencing factor. While America has not yet been able to control the spread, Canada is better off.
As of May 14th, 2020, international students with valid Canadian study permits issued before March 18, 2020, will be exempted from the travel restrictions as long as they pass health checks and follow isolation protocols.
Indian Students Moving To Canada – How Will This Affect the USA?
Having fewer Indian students puts America at a loss. International students and their families contributed around $41billion to the U economy in 2018-19.
By paying higher tuition fees, these students also allow US colleges to subsidize tuition for domestic students. Thus, as the number of Indians studying in America decreases, so will their contribution to the US economy.
If the trend continues, colleges may find it hard to subsidize tuition fees for American students.
Fewer Indian students in technology and engineering streams could also affect the status of American universities as global centers for science. This is because a number of graduate students help the faculty with research.
If America wants to retain its popularity as an education destination, it will have to take a serious look at its policies. In the meantime, America’s loss could be Canada’s gain.
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