Canada vs Australia for students

Canada and Australia are both really great places to study, especially for international students. Both countries are inclusive and welcoming and don’t shy away from hosting foreign students. So, if you’re looking to get a degree abroad, both countries are splendid options! However, when it comes to Canada vs Australia for students, the decision is more than just a little tough. After all, both regions have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. And the best choice for you will really just depend on what you’re looking for specifically. From the different universities, English-speaking requirements, student visa protocols, and job prospects- your priorities will determine your choice.

Hence, if you want to know more about Canada vs Australia for students, read on to decide for yourself which country should be on top!


When it comes to student education, the choice of university is obviously the most important. And speaking of universities, many factors impact your decision to opt for a certain university, including fee, ranking, and degree duration. Australian universities typically offer 3-year long degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, if you’re choosing to pursue an Engineering or honours program, it will take you 4 years. As for the financial aspect, Australian universities charge somewhere between 24,000 AUD to 46,000 AUD per year, depending on your choice of program and the university. As per the Times Higher Education World Ranking of Universities, the University of Melbourne ranks at #33, the Australian National University and the University of Queensland at #54, Monash University at #57, the University of Sydney at #58, and UNSW at #70.

As for Canada, the foreign students can expect to pay around $10,000 or AUD 10,958 to even $50,000 or AUD 54,793 per year for undergraduate-level courses and $5,000 or AUD 5479 to approximately $42,000 or AUD 46026 per year for graduate-level programs. Canadian universities are also great in terms of ranking, with the University of Toronto ranking at #18 worldwide, as per the Times Higher Education ranking of universities. Also, the University of British Columbia ranks at #37, the McGill University ranks at #44, the McMaster University ranks at #80, and the University of Montreal ranks at #88 globally. Undergraduate courses can take 3-4 years to complete depending on the university you opt for. Post-graduate courses, though, tend to last around 1-3 years depending on your field of choice. The different higher education options in Canada include universities, community colleges, art schools, technical schools, and science schools. And since the universities are managed by the provincial governments, there will be differences in the curriculum, etc.

Therefore, it’s hard to declare a winner in this regard because both countries are almost equally great in terms of their educational competence. Although, of course, Canadian universities can be a bit relatively pricey (depending on the specific program and university) for international students, the quality of education makes up for it! Also, we haven’t included diploma level courses in this comparison.

English and other requirements

To apply for admission to a Canadian university, English should either be your first language or you must have studied at least one year in an institute where English was the dominant language. However, if that is not the case, you are required to demonstrate your English language proficiency through any of the following assessment tests:

  • International Baccalaureate (IB) English
  • Cambridge Assessment English C1 or C2
  • Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees
  • Duolingo English Test
  • Canadian Academic English Language Assessment
  • English Language Diagnosis and Assessment/Certificate of Proficiency in English

As you can see from the above list, PTE academic is not accepted in Canada, especially for immigration purposes. So, if we take the most common English tests such as IELTS and TOEFL, you need to score a bit higher if you want to enrol in Canadian universities. For example, you need at least an overall score of 6.5 and 6 in each section of IELTS to enrol in a bachelor’s or master’s program. In the case of TOEFL, you need to secure at least 100 overall.

On the other hand, Australian universities demand each band 7 in IELTS for all levels of nursing programs. As for undergraduate degrees related to IT, accounting, and business, a minimum overall score of 6 and 5.5 in each part is required. And master-level courses in the same demand a minimum overall score of 6.5 and at least 6 in each band. Additionally, they also accept PTE Academic and Cambridge English C1 or C2 as English aptitude tests. Thus, in the Canada vs Australia for students debate, especially for foreign students, Canada has more options in this regard. However, Australia wins if you want to give the PTE Academic exam as PTE is considered one of the easiest English aptitude tests.

Student visa processing and interview

Once you apply for a study permit for Canada, the processing can take up to 90 days, though it is usually much faster. Plus, if you are lucky enough to be shortlisted, you will have to appear for an interview as well. However, acceptance rates of Canadian study permits are not as high as in Australia. You see, the competition is very fierce and so, there’s a 50-50 chance of you getting in despite an excellent record. In fact, getting a student visa might actually be harder than getting enrolled in a program.

In contrast to this, Australia is relatively easy to get in than most countries, including Canada. The student visa processing time varies according to your desired program but 25% of applications are returned within 16 days while 90% are returned within 7 months in the Higher Education Sector. As for the vocational and training sector, it takes 33 days and 12 months to return 25% and 90% of all applications, respectively. Moreover, the Australian department of immigration usually schedules their interviews on the phone or does not take the interview at all, depending upon your country! Hence, it’s safe to say that Australia definitely triumphs over Canada with regard to student permit issuance and processing.

Jobs for students

When it comes to looking for a job, getting a job in Canada is just as hard as in any other country. So long as you have the required credentials, a strong academic hold, and relevant work experience, you should be fine. In Canada, a minimum Federal wage is $15.55 per hour which is equivalent to AUD 17 per hour. According to an analysis, $22/hour is the average wage required to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Canada. So, if you earn minimum wage in Montreal, you would have to work at least 50 hours per week to be able to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment. In Canada, international students can get jobs like teacher’s assistant, barista, kitchen helper, bartender, delivery driver, waiter and sales representative.

As for Australia, the job market is pretty competitive but it’s still not impossible to get a job. Like Canada, so long as you are good at what you do, you will be able to get a job eventually. The most common jobs in Australia for international students include waiter, kitchen hand, food delivery driver, barista, labourer, retail store assistant, cleaner, sales rep, and babysitter. And the minimum wage for these jobs amounts to around AUD 772.60 per week or AUD 20.33 per hour. Therefore, the job market scenario is quite similar in both countries.

Post-study benefits

Australian graduates can apply quite easily for a 2-4-year work permit, which will probably be accepted depending on your city of choice, and of course, your qualification. Having a diploma, undergraduate or graduate degree from a big city greatly increases your chances of obtaining a work permit, and studying in the local area can add another year to the permit as well. Plus, if you have a PhD, you can apply for a 4-year permit.

As for Canada, the success of your application depends strongly on your credentials. The average work permit application processing can take up to 5 months. However, you need to study at least for 8 months to be eligible for this permit. If the duration of your course was at least 2 years, then you might be eligible for 3 years of post-graduation work permit. Also, while it is hard to obtain a work permit, it’s not impossible, and you can easily get one with professional help, employer support, and a job offer letter. Overall, though, we would say it’s easier to get a work permit in Australia.

Ease of getting a permanent residency

If you want to apply for permanent residency, be warned that it’s going to be a pretty lengthy procedure involving filling out numerous applications and submitting loads of documents. Canada scores all eligible candidates on the basis of age, work experience, educational credentials, and certain other factors as per the Comprehensive Ranking System.

Australia follows a point-based system as well wherein a minimum of 65 points must be obtained for PR eligibility. Scores are awarded based on age, qualification, partner skills, fluency in English, relevant work experience and a few other criteria.


We frequently compare Canada and Australia as study destinations due to the fact that both countries are popular and ideal for students to study. However, when we compare both regions, we find that they are actually a lot more similar. Each of them has its own pros and cons as discussed above, and so, a decision about choosing between Canada vs Australia for students can only be made on a case to case basis.

If you are planning to come to Australia, you have come to the right page. We will keep you informed with our up-to-date information, news and blogs.

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