You might be thinking I am crazy to say that and wondering how can a cold country with a meager population of 35 million be better for immigration than the mighty superpower with a population of 318 million? Don’t get me wrong. USA is a great country to immigrate. Most of the times when I said “I am going to a foreign country”, people used to ask “which state in USA?” So, yes, USA is the most favorite country among immigrants around the world. No doubt about it. However, there are a few reasons why I chose to come to Canada, and why I prefer to live in Canada rather than USA. Let us see what they are:
1) Friendly Immigration Policies: People who have crossed both the borders can easily tell you the difference in the airport itself. Yes, Canadian immigration policies are lot simpler and lot friendlier than that of US. It’s relatively easy to obtain a Canadian Study Permit, Work Permit, Tourist Visa, Permanent Residency (PR) or even a Citizenship than that of US. The process that needs to be followed and the documentation required for any of the above are lot easier for Canada rather than USA.
Snippet: Do you know that your spouse can work here in Canada even when you are on a study permit/work permit? Try that in US!
2) Better Healthcare System: Healthcare system in Canada is one of the best publicly funded healthcare systems in the world and everyone receives same level of care regardless of financial status. Not only that, according to Canada Health Act, if you are a resident of Canada, then almost anything that is medically necessary will be treated for free. Don’t get me wrong, you have to pay your monthly premiums as per provincial or territorial health insurance plans though. Believe me, those monthly premiums you pay in Canada are very reasonable and nowhere near the premiums that people pay in US. In British Columbia you will be treated even if you failed to pay your health insurance premiums in the past few months (they might collect the premiums afterwards though). I mean to say, you won’t be denied treatment just because you are not insured.
Snippet: Do you know that all the basic medical and surgical services that are medically necessary are covered for a monthly premium of $70. Try that in US!
3) Affordable Education System: Canada’s education system is mostly public (read “free”) and every child has to go to school starting from the age of 5 until 16 or 18 depending on the province in which they live. You can choose to put your children in public schools (free education) or in Private schools where you need to pay. Don’t misjudge that public education is substandard or is only for poor children, as it is the case in many countries across the globe. According to Statcan, close to 95% of children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools in 2010/2011 are in public schools. Even after your child crosses secondary education, the money you will spend for his/her college/university education can be far less than that you could spend on similar quality of education in USA.
Snippet: According to research conducted by HSBC Canada, the average tuition cost for an international student (based on fees charged in top 10 colleges and universities in Canada) is $18,474. Try that in US!
4) Better Security: Unlike USA, Canada doesn’t have the gun culture. Most of the US states have provisions that allow a common man to carry a concealed weapon. When is the last time you heard that there was a shooting in a US University where a school boy shot his teacher and other classmates? Not very long ago, isn’t it? But, not here in Canada. Canada has strict firearm regulations where gun licenses are managed very well with proper background checks, personal interviews and safety training courses.
Snippet: You will feel absolutely safe travelling in a bus/train even at morning 2am, in most parts of Canada. Try that in US!
5) Better Overall Life Style: Though lifestyle means different for different people, according to OECD Better Life Index, it comprises of Housing, Income, Jobs, Community, Education, Environment, Civic Engagement, Health, Life Satisfaction, Safety, and Work Life Balance. Except for Housing and Income, USA scores less than Canada in every other measure. When I compared 4 factors that I consider important for my life style – Health, Life Satisfaction, Safety and Work Life Balance (go to oecdbetterlifeindex.org to compare different countries’ Better Life Index) – I could clearly see where I want to go!
Snippet: People in Canada are nice and very helpful people. When you get bumped in to a Canadian by mistake, even before you say anything, you will hear a “SORRY” from him. Try that in US!