Moving to Canada from India as a Student

Olivia Willemin


Apr 30, 2022
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Canada is a primary international destination when it comes to studying abroad for university. It has an excellent education system as well as several highly-esteemed higher education institutions. The University of Toronto, McGill, and University of British Columbia consistently rank in the top 50 best universities in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings and The Times Higher Education University Rankings.

If you're considering moving to Canada from India for university, then you would be joining many students from your region who have chosen to further their studies in the country. Of course, you will have taken the schools and topic(s) of study into consideration beforehand, but there is a lot that you may be wondering when it comes to the non-academic side of studying in Canada. How can you immigrate to Canada? Is a student visa enough to move from India to Canada? Will you be able to have a job as a student? How many hours are you allowed to work in Canada? Can you bring family with you? How expensive will it all be?

In this Monito guide, our experts are here to help you when it comes to immigrating to Canada as a student and answer your questions as best as we can.

How much will it cost?

One of the big factors in deciding where to study is how much it will end up costing. In general, studying in Canada is cheaper than in the United States, but tuition fees can still add up, and there are several factors to take into account.


In general, undergraduate tuition fees at Canadian universities tend to be much higher for international students compared to Canadian students, and the cost can vary vastly depending on both university and degree, with Arts and Humanities programs being the cheapest and STEM subjects the highest. Fees can range from as little a 10’000 CAD a year at smaller institutions to upwards of 90’000 CAD for medical students at larger universities. To give you a better idea, here are the yearly fees for two undergraduate degrees at the top three Canadian universities.

Tuition at the Top Three Canadian Universities


BA fee 2022/23

BSc fee 2022/23

University of Toronto (ON)

59,320 CAD

59’320 CAD

University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

42’802.50 CAD

44’091.30 CAD

McGill University (Montreal, QC)

33’394.30 CAD

57’267.67 CAD

Tuition fees for graduate degrees vary even more depending on the degree, but can be lower than undergraduate fees, and are sometimes the same for Canadian and international students. They range from as low as 3500 CAD to upwards of 130’000 CAD for some MBA programs, but a more common range is between 10’000 to 30’000 CAD a year, with taught programs being more expensive than research-based degrees. Graduate students can also more easily get funding and scholarships, which are less common for undergraduate students.

Other Living Costs

Although your tuition fee will be the lion’s share of the cost of your studies, don’t forget to factor in other expenses. You will be required to prove that you have at least 10’000 CAD in the bank to get your student permit, but that probably won’t be enough to cover your expenses for the first year. First, you have to plan for your housing and food costs, which will vary depending on where you’re studying and whether you decide to live on- or off-campus, but can range anywhere from 10’000 to 25’000 CAD. If you’re studying in a province where you are not covered by the public healthcare system (see below), you will also need to pay for your university’s private health insurance, which can range anywhere from 600 up to 2000 CAD a year. On top of this, most Canadian universities advise you to budget at least 1000 CAD for books and supplies, and you might want to set some money aside for emergency purchases, in case you need to buy a new laptop, for example.

Working while Studying in Canada

Depending on your permit, you might be allowed to work while studying in Canada. In general, you’re allowed to work unlimited hours for an on-campus job, and up to 20 hours a week off-campus.

Immigrating to Canada as a Student

Generally speaking, moving to Canada from India as a student will require a temporary study permit, which you should apply for once you have been accepted by a Canadian university. You will be required to prove your English and/or French proficiency — which shouldn’t be a problem if you already got into a Canadian University! You will also need to have paid your tuition fees for the first year of study, and prove that you have the funds to support yourself in Canada, normally 10’000 CAD — for the first year for a person coming alone. If you live in India or one of the other eligible countries, you can apply for this permit through the Student Direct Stream, which means faster processing.

If you want to study in Quebec, whether at a French- or English-speaking institution, there are a few more hoops to jump through, as that province controls its own immigration policy: you might need more funds to finance your stay, and, if you’re planning to study there for more than six months, you will need to obtain a Québec Acceptance Certificate before applying for you Canadian permit.

After Graduation

Temporary stays in Canada from India usually require a permit, whether to work or to study. If you’ve graduated from a Canadian higher education institution, the easiest way to stay in Canada to work is obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit, that allows you to work for any Canadian company in any position for up to three years, which can be a good step on the way to permanent residency. Indian citizens can also apply for short-term work permits through International Experience Canada program, but these are only available for internship and early career jobs, and must be sponsored by a Recognized Organization like AIESEC or IAESTE.

Permanent Residency After Studying in Canada

Permanent residency can be obtained through several channels, though most of them are generally processed through the online Express Entry system, and rely on point-based scores to determine your eligibility — based on things like age, level of education or language skills — as well as to rank your application — with factors like having already studied or worked in Canada, getting a job offer or being sponsored by a province increasing your score. Draws are held regularly to select high-ranking applicants and invite them to apply. Though the programmes differ depending on skills and experience requirements, as well as whether they require having worked in Canada before, all of them draw from the same pool of candidates, so only one application is necessary. 

Healthcare in Canada

Canada has generally good healthcare, with a single-payer healthcare system covering most residents in the country for free, whether they’re Canadian citizens or not. What is important to know, however, is that Canadian healthcare is not administered nation-wide. Rather, each province and territory has its own system: Ontario has the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), Quebec has the Régie de l’assurance maladie (RAMQ), while British Columbia has the Medical Services Plan (MSP), and so on. 

Each system has its own quirks when it comes to eligibility, which might require you to take out private insurance in some situations, which is often the case for international students. Although some provinces cover them from their first day, like Newfoundland and Labrador, some require a lengthy waiting period – Nova Scotia, for example –, and the largest provinces simply don’t: if you’re coming to Ontario, Québec or British Columbia to study, you will have to take out private insurance through your university. 

Besides eligibility, the Canadian health systems also differ from each other in their coverage: though they all cover the basics, there are differences when it comes to things like mental health, ambulance services, or physiotherapy. Generally, prescription medications are not covered — though Québec has a separate insurance plan for them, and some provinces do offer coverage for the young or the elderly.

The Indo-Canadian Community

Canada is home to a large Indian diaspora — in fact, it is the eight largest Indian diaspora in the world, and the second-largest non-European community in Canada after the Chinese Canadian community. Indo-Canadians make up about 4% of the total population of Canada, more than 1,300,000 people, mainly concentrated in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia – almost 51% of the Indian Canadian community live in the Greater Toronto Area, and more than 20% in the Lower Mainland region comprising Greater Vancouver.

Punjabis represent the largest group within the Indian Canadian community, and make up the large majority of Indo-Canadians living in British Columbia. As a consequence, Punjabi is the most spoken South Asian language in Canada, and Sikhs represent the largest religious denominations among Indo-Canadians – 35% in 2001, compared with 28% Hindus, 17% Muslims and 16% Christians.

More Questions you May Have About Moving to Canada to Study

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