The U.S. has always been known as the ‘land of opportunities.’ Thousands of students apply to American universities from foreign lands. But not anymore. The focus is slowly shifting as international students are choosing Canada over the U.S.
According to the SEVIS data provided by the National Foundation for American Policy, the number of enrollment international students has declined by 4.3% between the years 2016-17 to 2018-19. The IRCC reports from December 2019 suggest that there were 642480 international students enrolled in Canadian Universities. When compared to 2018 data, it can be observed that there has been a 13% increase in the number of enrolments. But what makes Canada a better option for higher education than the U.S.?
Comfortable in Canada
When you first think of making it big and earning big bucks, U.S. comes to your mind. But traveling to the U.S. is not an easy task. Under Trump’s administration, the process for getting H-1B visas can take up to months. Many of these applications even get denied without a valid reason. Canada, on the other hand, is warmer towards international students. The Global Skills Strategy, introduced by the Canadian Government, allowed students’ visa applications to get approved quickly.
The Canadian Government is extremely flexible when it comes to international student applications. Even if you have some missing documents, study permits and work permits for postgraduates get accepted quickly. At the same time, Trump restricted students’ entry from China, which led to a decline in international students’ enrollment. A recent survey has revealed that international students are less interested in continuing their higher education in the U.S. due to Trump’s policies.
Apart from Trudeau and Trump’s difference in policies, there is a difference in both countries’ tuition fees. International students pay a considerable amount to foreign universities and are a massive part of their economy. Since 2012, there has been an increase in tuition fees, by at least $5000, in American Universities. Compared to that, the tuition fees rates have been kept constant in Canadian Universities. On average, international students pay $12000 to $25000 to Canadian Universities for under-graduate programs. Comparatively, the American Universities charge international students more. From a monetary point of view, American education is less affordable than in Canada for international students.
The safety issue is another reason why international students are scared to go to American Universities. The number of mass shootings in Universities in America has drastically increased. Gun violence is too prevalent in American. Due to the recent change in policies, gun presence is growing drastically in Universities due to advocacy groups and legislation wanting deregulation of guns in American Colleges. In comparison, gun violence in Canada is much less and probably deemed safer for international students.
Canada loosening its restrictions for students
Even though there is a pandemic going on right now, the Canadian Government announced its plans for bringing in new permanent residents. Around 1233000 permanent residents will be welcomed into the country between the years 2021 to 2023. According to Canadian Universities, it will act as a ‘positive signal’ for inviting more international students. Canada is willing to allow international students to work in the country after they completing their coursework.
The maximum duration for which you can work in Canada after completing your course is three years. You can then apply for residency in Canada with one-year of work experience in the country.
The majority of the international students who come to Canada for higher studies are from China, Brazil, India, Vietnam, Korea, and the even the U.S. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino, has conveyed that allowing international students in and providing permanent residency to them will help to address the country’s short term as well as long term goals. The short term goal is to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and looks forward to providing residency permits to immigrants who want to work in the Canadian Health-Care Sector. The long-term needs are related to the demographic challenge. Canada is a sparsely populated country, and to combat the challenges in regards to their aging population, new residents should be welcomed into the country.
Will a new American President change the present scenario?
Now that Joe Biden has been elected as the 46th President, will things shift in American Universities’ favor? Under Trump’s administration, several policies regarding immigrants were issued. Trump wanted to make ‘America great again.’ Hence, he introduced several policies such as banning travel from several Muslim dominant countries and making it difficult for international students to apply for a work permit after completing their course. These policies pushed away from the international students who chose to enroll themselves in Canadian, Australian, and U.K. universities.
Biden, however, has advocated his preference for international education through his campaigns. Given that the parents of the newly elected vice-president Kamala Harris were international students, the issue might not be seen in a negative light. Biden has promised to provide a more supportive environment for international students.
Organizations such as NAFSA are hopeful that the administration change will bring a lot more positive environment after the four years of tyranny. Complications. TheNAFSA CEO, Esther Brimmer, has defined the years under Trump’s administration as ‘challenging’ and has lauded the international students for showing massive amounts of strength and resilience in the face of adversity. The CEO was also quoted saying that the organization is waiting eagerly to work with the Biden-Harris administration as it has promised to address these issues. The first decision expected from the administration is to lift the travel ban after Biden comes into power.
Since other foreign universities have upped their game, the American Universities might have to put in a tough fight to gain international students’ trust. A series of proposals have been put forward by the President’s Alliance for Higher Education and Immigration. Immigration before the new administration. These policies are related to the plight of international students, including issues related to visa barriers, implementation of the International Education Strategy, and allowing greater online enrollment in American Universities.