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Canada Emerges as Top Choice for Students and Skilled Workers



International students and skilled workers are increasingly favouring Canada over the United States, according to a recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). This shift is attributed to the complexity of obtaining H-1B visas and permanent residency in the US, compared to a more streamlined pathway in Canada.

Canada Tightens International Student Intake

However, Canada recently announced a cap on international student admissions for the next two years. This move aims to address concerns about the integrity of the student visa program and ensure proper student support systems. The cap limits new study permits to 360,000 this year, a significant 35% decrease from 2023.


Canadia Responds to Challenges

The Canadian immigration department explained the decision, citing a need to address potential strains on housing, healthcare, and other services due to the rapid influx of international students.

Additionally, starting in September, Canada will implement limitations on “temporary residents,” impacting applications for citizenship.

Challenges in the United States

Conversely, the United States faces challenges in attracting international students and skilled workers. The NFAP study highlights how immigration laws in the US have become deterrents for students.


Difficulty in obtaining and renewing H-1B visas, along with uncertainties surrounding permanent residency, has prompted individuals to seek opportunities in Canada instead.

High F-1 Visa Refusal Rates

Recent data has revealed a concerning trend in the United States handling of F-1 visa applications, with refusal rates hitting record highs. Over a quarter of a million international students faced rejection in 2023, marking a significant increase from previous years.

  • Over 250,000 F-1 visa applications were rejected in 2023, a staggering 36% refusal rate.
  • This surpasses rejection rates for other visa types and nearly doubles the figures from 2022.

Growth in Indian Enrollment in Canadian Universities

This shift in preference is reflected in the significant rise in Indian enrollment at Canadian universities. From 2,181 students in 2000, the number surged to 128,928 in 2021. Indian students now constitute 37% of the increased enrollment in international students attending Canadian universities between 2000 and 2021.


Canada’s immigration policies appear to be attracting international students and skilled workers, particularly those facing challenges in the US. However, Canada’s own intake adjustments indicate a focus on managing this growth and ensuring a sustainable system.


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