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Canada Visa Requirements For MBA Students: EXPLAINED

Canada’s visa policies are among the most generous in the world. Here’s what MBA candidates need to know about getting student and work visas in Canada


Mon Sep 14 2020

Canada’s international student population has tripled over the last decade. With 642,000 foreign students last year, Canada ranks third globally behind the US and Australia for its number of international students.

Driving this is a generous student visa and work permit policy. According to a survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), one-in-three international business school students say the ease of obtaining a student visa is what attracted them to Canada.

While the coronavirus pandemic has forced a temporary lockdown on international movement, the Canadian government has actively responded by further easing employment rules for foreign students. 

Canada has clearly recognized the value of global student talent to higher education, like on the Full-Time MBA at Ivey Business School, for example, where 41% of the class are international students.

Here’s what you need to know about obtaining Canadian student and post-MBA work visas, and the kinds of career opportunities available for MBA grads in Canada.

The Canadian student visa process

Before applying for a study permit, international students need to secure an admission letter from a designated learning institution (DLI)—most accredited colleges in Canada are on the list, including Ivey.

Raghid Shreih is a Canadian immigration consultant at Ya Hala, and frequently works with prospective Ivey candidates.

“Applicants to an MBA in Canada must explain how their educational and work background prepares them for a rigorous MBA program, and how having the MBA qualification will enhance their career and help them get to the next level.

“They must also show that they have enough financial means to comfortably cover the fees and expenses, and be able to return home after completing the program,” he explains.

The process for most international students is completed through an online portal, where you’ll complete the relevant forms and upload supporting documentation.


William Nguyen (pictured) arrived in Canada from Vietnam in 2018 to study for an MBA at Ivey Business School and went through those application steps himself.

“The visa process was very straightforward for me, and it was a big deciding factor in coming to Canada. For any extra questions I had, Ivey put me in touch with an immigration consultant who was super helpful,” he says.

The Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada

Once you’ve got your MBA in Canada, you can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), the length of which coincides with the length of your study program.

According to GMAC, 49% of international b-school students named the ease of obtaining work permits as a deciding factor for choosing Canada—compared with 19% in the US.

“A PGWP is very flexible since it allows the student to work for any Canadian employer for the duration of its validity, allowing students to gain valuable Canadian work experience,” Raghid says.

Normally, this study length must be completed in Canada. But in light of the coronavirus pandemic’s disruption to both international travel and business schools, the government has removed that requirement.

Now, even if you enroll for an online program from your native country, you’ll still be eligible for a work permit in Canada according to the length of study.

For international students who are working during their courses, the government has also removed the cap of 20 working hours per week, for those working in an essential service, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food and critical goods.


©Andrei Stanescu

Launching your career in Canada after an MBA

So, now that you’ve got your MBA and PGWP, what are your career prospects like in Canada?

For Ivey MBA grads, 91% find full-time employment three months after completing the MBA, with an average salary of $115,000 (USD). 

Of the most recent MBA class, 42% entered consulting, with other students moving into diverse industries including finance, tech, construction, real estate, health sciences, and more.

The Ivey MBA is a one-year program, too, which means you can take advantage of quickly moving back into your career. William, with his MBA and subsequent work permit, landed a role with Deloitte, a major consulting firm, and a company he’d previously worked at back in Vietnam. 

“My original plan wasn’t actually to re-join Deloitte. But someone from the company had got in touch with me to urge me to apply. It transpired that Ivey had sent my CV out to top firms in Canada, and this led to them reaching out to me,” he says. 

Now running long-term projects as a senior consultant for some of Deloitte’s biggest clients in Canada, he says that without the Ivey MBA, he wouldn’t have been able to so quickly change both his job function and geography.

Owing to its prestigious higher education institutions, flexible via policies, and career prospects, Canada has seen its popularity for international students rise by more than anywhere else in the world over the previous five years.

The PGWP means students can quickly establish work experience, an advantage when later applying for permanent residency, which according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 60% of foreign students plan to do.

“I’d highly recommend anyone to choose Canada for their MBA,” William concludes. “Not only is the student visa process so welcoming, but that ability to stay and work after graduation is invaluable.”

Student Reviews

Western University - Ivey Business School




On Campus

The Faculty of Information Media

The Faculty of Information Media excels in not only introducing students to crucial angles and aspects of media and communication studies, but also listens carefully to students to teach them about the aspects of culture they interact with regularly, allowing students to apply their learned skills to their preferred field immediately. The University promotes the growth of different communities not only through vast course selection, but through extracurriculars and an active student body as well. The winters are harsh, but it's very easy to be kept busy.




On Campus


Western University in London, Ontario, excels with its exceptional academics, picturesque campus, and strong educational support. The university's blend of beautiful scenery and ample resources fosters a stimulating learning environment. Its diverse opportunities, from research to extracurriculars, prepare students for success in various fields. I recommend Western University for those seeking a comprehensive and enriching educational experience.





Western University: Fostering Growth and Diversity

I am currently in my fourth year at Western University, pursuing a unique combination of International Relations and Digital Communications. My time here has been nothing short of transformative, and I'd like to share a brief review of my university experience. Western University has been a place of remarkable opportunities for me. The campus exudes a vibrant atmosphere that encourages students to get involved, and I've taken full advantage of this. From joining student organizations to participating in events and workshops, there's always something happening on campus that fosters personal growth and community engagement. What truly sets my university apart is the exceptional International Relations program it offers. As one of only two schools in Canada providing this niche field, Western has allowed me to delve deeply into my passion. The program's hands-on approach, with group projects and simulations, has not only expanded my knowledge but also honed my practical skills, making me feel well-prepared for my future career. Moreover, Western University's commitment to mental health and well-being is commendable. It's reassuring to be part of a university that prioritizes the mental health of its students, providing the necessary support systems and resources to ensure our well-being throughout our academic journey. As a black student with ADHD, I've found Western to be exceptionally accommodating and accessible. The university's commitment to diversity and inclusivity is evident, and I've felt welcomed and supported in every aspect of my university life!




On Campus

More academic support is needed

It’s a great university with great programs. Everything have worked out the way I expected university to be, but just a little bit more academic support would be great. The information regarding academic support is posted but for some classes, when I find it difficult because there is not sufficient level of support (understaffed)




On Campus


I would definitely recommend UWO. It has a great student experience. Resources are always available to those who need them and their number one priority is students. One thing I dislike is they’re academic consideration system.




On Campus

Computer science

The computer science program at UWO offers a solid foundation in theoretical and practical aspects of computer science. The faculty is knowledgeable and supportive, and the program emphasizes collaboration and teamwork. Overall, the program prepares students well for a variety of careers in technology. The computer science program at UWO offers a solid foundation in theoretical and practical aspects of computer science. The faculty is knowledgeable and supportive, and the program emphasizes collaboration and teamwork. Overall, the program prepares students well for a variety of careers in technology.




On Campus

Life Balance

I have loved my first year at the University of Western Ontario. I am in Kinesiology and I am also on the varsity track and field team. Western has strong academics as well as great sports teams. The student athlete balance Western has provided me has taught me numerous skills that will help me in the future. I would definitely recommend Western to any student athlete looking to compete at the highest level while still getting a great education.




On Campus

Western: A Dream Come True

Western University is known for its academic excellence, diverse student body, and vibrant campus life. With a wide range of programs, world-class facilities, and renowned professors, Western provides students with an education that prepares them for success in their chosen fields. The campus is situated in London, Ontario, a city known for its cultural events, outdoor activities, and vibrant downtown. The university also offers a range of extracurricular activities and clubs, allowing students to pursue their passions and make meaningful connections with their peers. With all these features and more, it's no surprise that I love attending Western University.




On Campus

Personal Recommendation of University of Western

As a current student at University of Western Ontario, I can confidently say that my experience thus far has been nothing short of exceptional. When I was first looking into potential universities to attend, I was drawn to Western because of its reputation for academic excellence, as well as its strong sense of community. Throughout my time here, I have found that this reputation is well-deserved. The professors are knowledgeable and engaging, and the coursework is challenging but rewarding. Additionally, there are a wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs available to students, which has allowed me to explore my interests and meet new people. One thing that I appreciate about Western is its commitment to student well-being. There are a variety of resources available to students, including mental health services and academic advising. This has made it easy for me to navigate any challenges that I have encountered during my time here. In terms of the campus itself, I have found it to be well-maintained and easy to navigate. The facilities are modern and up-to-date, and there are plenty of places to study, socialize, and relax. Additionally, the university is located in a beautiful part of London, Ontario, which has allowed me to explore the city and take advantage of everything it has to offer. Overall, I would highly recommend University of Western Ontario to anyone looking for a high-quality education in a supportive and vibrant community. The university has exceeded my expectations in every way, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful institution.




On Campus

MAC program

Western University is a one of a kind experience in Canada. It has a beautiful campus, and the student life is welcoming and extremely fun. The program i am in is Media and Communications, formerly Media, Information, and Technoculture. This degree provides me with theoretical understandings of media industries, as well as writing and project based learning.