Indian students ditch Canada for Australia


The Hindustan Times reports that Canada has experienced a 40% decline in visa applications from Indian students over the second half of 2023:

The collapse in Indian study applications is illustrated in the below chart from Better Dwelling:

Indian study applications

In turn, overall study applications to Canada have fallen:

Canadian study applications

Better Dwelling places the blame for the decline in Indian study application on “Canada’s exploitation of international students” alongside “more international students posting on social media about the hardships they faced in Canada, specifically calling out the high cost of living and lack of opportunity promised”.

Study applications will likely continue to fall given the Canadian Government has announced that from next year, international students will be required to show twice as much savings in their bank accounts when applying for a study visa:


As explained by Better Dwelling:

“Students are only required to show $10,000 in funds when applying for a study permit, an amount set in 2000”.

“The latest update would see the amount tied to the low-income cut off (LICO), the minimum amount needed to ensure a person can afford shelter”.

“As of 2024, a student would require a minimum of $20.6k in cost of living funds, 75% of the LICO”. 

Meanwhile. student visa flows from India to Australia has surged 34% this year, which will likely continue given Canada’s changes will make Australia a more attractive study destination:

Australian student enrollments

Moreover, the Albanese Government this year signed two migration agreements with India that, among other things, provides:

  • Five-year student visas for Indians, with no caps on the numbers that can study in Australia.
  • Indian graduates of Australian tertiary institutions on a student visa can apply to work without visa sponsorship for up to eight years.
  • Australia will recognise Indian vocational and university graduates to be “holding the comparable AQF qualification” for the purposes of admission to higher education and general employment.

These migration pacts will obviously make Australia an even more attractive destination and will likely increase the flow of Indians seeking work and residency in Australia.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.