Indian students in Canada worried about the lack of job opportunities

Are Indian students in Canada worried about the lack of job opportunities?

In recent years, the allure for Indians to move to Canada went up significantly. Especially as the rules for getting job visas in the US became more stringent, Indians started turning towards Canada as a viable option for higher studies and jobs in order to settle down. Canada boasts of quality education and a multicultural environment coupled with the possibility of attaining a permanent resident status. However, more recently, the promising prospects have turned into concern as the opportunities for getting well-paying jobs after a post-graduation course in the country have gone down considerably. There are ongoing diplomatic troubles between India and Canada, as well as some changes have been made to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), with a cap being introduced on the number of foreign students. Therefore, it is safe to say that currently, Indian students in Canada are worried about their job prospects, while some are even considering coming back home. In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look into the Canadian job market and the factors that have left Indian students worried about jobs.

Why was the appeal of Canada so high?

Canadian education systems are globally recognised and rank high among Indians considering foreign countries for studies with their diverse programs and research opportunities. In 2021, Canada had over 6 lakh international students, with Indians making up over 34% of that number. Canada’s appeal is boosted by the high possibility of getting a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) that allows students to stay and work in Canada and gain valuable Canadian work experience, which adds points to their tally of obtaining a permanent resident status. 

Changes to Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Rules

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made a lot of changes to the eligibility criteria for post-graduation work permits in January 2024. One of the biggest changes is that graduates of college programs delivered through a public-private curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer qualify for this permit if they begin their studies on or after May 15, 2024. This significantly reduces the number of international students who will be considering Canada for higher studies from this year onwards. 

Impact on Job Opportunities

There is a severe lack of job opportunities in the Canadian market. The unemployment rate has shown a slight increase year-on-year, standing at 5.5% in 2024. The strained India-Canada relations are worsening as Indian students in Canada are finding it increasingly difficult to secure a job. Most students from India go to study abroad on education loans or scholarships owing to the high fees and the unfavourable conversion rate. Due to the lack of jobs, many Indian students are worried they will not be able to pay off their student loans and also send back money to their families here in India. 

Economic Disparity

Statistics Canada recently published a report which highlighted the difference between Indian students and domestic students when it came to obtaining jobs. It was found that 70% of the Indian students get a job in two years after completing their post-graduation as compared to 80% of the domestic students. When it came to earnings, Indians earned less than their Canadian peers, with the median earnings for Indians being CAD 30,000 two years after graduating as compared to CAD 45,000 for Canadians. The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) also found that even though most international students in the technology sector found jobs within six months of graduation, most of them were in roles that were not aligned with their qualifications. 

Skills Mismatch

Most Indian students in Canada pursue courses in the fields of engineering, IT, and business. However, the country does not provide as many jobs in these fields, which is causing a mismatch in the skills and available employment. As a result, the students have to accept jobs that do not align with their education and, in most cases, pay much less than a job in their sector would normally pay. However, due to financial obligations and in order to survive in Canada, the students are forced to take up these jobs until something more suitable turns up for them. 

Alternative Work Opportunities

For occupations experiencing a labour shortage in Canada, there is a specific work permit supported by an employer’s approved labour market impact assessment. In addition, students with a master’s degree can soon apply for a three-year work permit, which will give them more time to look for suitable employment and transition to permanent employment. 

Part-Time Jobs

Most universities in Canada allow students to seek part-time employment during the term with a 20-hour-a-week work permit. This can help students earn a wage to support their living expenses while studying. Additionally, if students possess a study permit and are enrolled full-time at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), they can extend their working hours to more than 20 per week for off-campus jobs in Canada. The minimum wage for part-time work ranges between CAD 13.65 and CAD 16.00 per hour. 

On-Campus Employment

The best way for students in Canada to make some money is to seek part-time employment on the campus of the university they are studying at. It can save them a lot of time, energy, and money on commuting to and fro from their jobs and balance their work and study in a more efficient manner. On-campus jobs include teaching assistants, library assistants, laboratory assistants, personal support assistants, career center student assistants, student cashiers, housekeepers, and food service workers.


Indian students are indeed worried about getting employment in Canada in the current scenario. The recent changes to the PGWP rules and the cap on foreign students have added to their concerns. However, they have alternative pathways to earn a living even if they do not get a job right away after completing their course. 

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