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Canada or Dubai: Exploring Higher Education Options Abroad

Updated on 21 November, 2023

Kanika Pruthi

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

The Canada vs. Dubai debate intrigues students worldwide. In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into various aspects like education quality, top universities, eligibility criteria, costs, student visas, post-study work permits, scholarships, career opportunities, and tax structures. With official statistics revealing a staggering number of Indian students heading to Canada (1.83 lakh) and UAE (1.64 lakh) in 2021-22, the allure of these thriving educational hubs is undeniable.

Explore your options and unlock boundless opportunities for academic excellence in either Canada or Dubai.

Dubai vs. Canada – Quality of Education

Both Dubai and Canada are renowned for their commitment to providing high-quality education. Canada is highly known for its globally recognized universities and diverse academic programs, attracting students from around the world. Dubai, on the other hand, has been rapidly expanding its education sector throughout, with a focus on offering cutting-edge programs in various disciplines. Both places offer an excellent scope of quality education for international students looking to study abroad. 

Top Universities in Dubai

According to QS World University Rankings 2024, Dubai boasts several reputable universities that cater to international students. Some notable institutions include

Top Universities in Canada

Canada is home to top-ranked universities recognized globally for their academic excellence. As per QS World University Rankings 2024, some of the top universities in Canada are:

Eligibility Criteria Requirement for Dubai vs. Canada

The eligibility criteria for studying in Dubai and Canada may vary based on the chosen course and university. 


Eligibility criteria for undergraduate studies at universities in Dubai:

  • Minimum of 12 years of schooling
  • A High School certificate including at least six subjects covering the four core fields of Mathematics, Sciences, Languages, and the Social Sciences & Humanities or Arts
  • English proficiency tests like IELTS, EmSAT, or TOEFL are required, with a cut-off score for admission.

Eligibility criteria for students applying for Postgraduate degrees in Dubai:

  • An undergraduate degree recognized in both the home country and Dubai
  • A minimum score of 1400 on the English language portion of the EmSAT examination or equivalent IELTS or TOEFL scores
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.00 on a 4.0 scale or its established equivalent


Eligibility Requirements for Bachelor’s Degree in Canada:

  • Candidates applying for admission from high school must show that they have completed five academic subjects out of English, Group A (Humanities/Social Sciences), Group B (Fine Arts), and Group C (Mathematics and Sciences).
  • IELTS/TOEFL certificate/ TEF 

Eligibility Requirements for Master’s Degree in Canada:

  • A graduation degree that is considered equivalent to a bachelor's degree in Canada
  • IELTS or TOEFL score
  • Minimum GPA or CGPA score

Dubai vs. Canada - Cost of Studying

Dubai's cost of studying is often overestimated, but it's not excessively expensive. Scholarships and financial aid options are available to support students. Tuition fees form a significant part of the overall expenses, but they are manageable. The average cost of study programs in Dubai can vary depending on the location and course.

Study programAverage annual fee per year, as of 2023
UGAED 37,500 - AED 70,000 (INR 8,36,877 - INR 15,62,000)
PGAED 55,000 - AED 75,000 (INR 12,27,500 - INR 16,73,800)
PhDAED 1,29,000 - AED 3,60,000 (INR 2,879,000 - INR 8,927,126)

On the other hand, the total expenses for studying in Canada consist of various factors, including the selected course, the city of study, accommodation, and more.

Study programAverage annual fee per year, as of 2023
UGCAD 1,800 to 33,600 (INR 111,745 to 2,086,082)
MBA CAD 2,564 to 42,707 (INR 159,187 to 2,651,551)
PhDCAD 1,440.45 to 3,001.14 (INR 89,363 to 1,86,185)

There are other factors that also contribute to the total cost of studying in Dubai or Canada, including the cost of living (rent), utilities, books, conveyance, etc. 

  • The cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai is AED 2,500 – 6,500 per month (INR 55,689-1,44,791), whereas the monthly accommodation costs in Canada can range from CAD 5,000 – 16,000 (INR 3,10,208-9,92,666) as of 2023.
  • In Dubai, monthly utilities, on average, can cost anywhere between AED 800 and AED 1200 (INR 17,820 - 26,730). On the other hand, in Canada, basic utilities like electricity and internet charges can cost between CAD 85-199 (INR 5,273-12,345). 
  • Public transport is an excellent mode of commuting in both Dubai and Canada. All public transport tickets are paid for using a contactless smart card called the NOL card in Dubai, which offers 50% discounts on fares to senior citizens and students. In Canada, a monthly pass for transportation costs CAD 100 (INR 6,203). 

Students must take into account these costs while comparing Dubai vs. Canada for studying abroad.

Student Visa in Canada vs. Dubai

The process of obtaining a student visa for Dubai and Canada can differ. 

Getting a student visa in Dubai is a relatively simple process, with the following requirements:

  • A valid passport 
  • An official admission letter from the university you are accepted to
  • Pass certificate of a medical fitness exam 
  • A visa sponsor, which can be your university or a UAE resident parent/relative
  • An approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA)

Whereas, for a student visa in Canada, you'll need the following documents:

  • A valid passport (proof of identity)
  • Certified copies of your 10th, 12th, and degree certificates
  • Educational and Professional references
  • An attestation of issuance of your Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ)
  • English proficiency scores
  • Proof of funds 
  • Letter of explanation
  • Study permit 
  • Obtain an acceptance letter from your prospective academic institution
  • Any extra requirements as specified by the university

Post-study Work Permit in Dubai and Canada

Steps to get a Post-study work permit in Dubai for international students:

  • Receive a job offer letter from a Dubai company.
  • Employers initiate the employment visa application on your behalf.
  • Submit medical reports, passport photocopies, photographs, job offers, and visa applications to the Department of Health and Medical Services for the UAE health card.
  • Submit all documents to the UAE Ministry of Labor office for the labor card.
  • Apply for a residence visa for longer-term work in Dubai.
  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months before entering the country.

International students studying in Canada can apply for the Post-study Work Permit, allowing them to stay back and work for up to 3 years. They must apply within 180 days after receiving their final marks. Required documents include an official letter from the school and transcripts to confirm their completion of the study. 

Scholarships to Study in Dubai vs. Canada

Both Dubai and Canada offer scholarships to international students, but the availability and criteria can vary. 

Scholarships in Dubai:

  • Chancellor's Academic Merit Scholarship 
  • Engineering Scholar Award
  • UAEU PhD Scholarship
  • Abu Dhabi University Academic Scholarship
  • Khalifa University Scholarships

Scholarships in Canada:

  • The University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarships
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship
  • Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarship
  • Hani Zeini Scholarships

Career Opportunities in Dubai vs. Canada

Dubai, being a global business hub, presents numerous career opportunities, particularly in industries like finance, engineering, and business. The average annual salary in Dubai is around AED 105,000 per year (INR 23,37,321) as of 2023.

Career opportunities in Dubai include:

JobsAverage Annual Salaries as of 2023
Accountant AED 52,608 (INR 11,71,065)
Civil Engineer AED 64,479 (INR 14,35,263)
Operations Manager AED 293,000 (INR 65,22,000)
Finance Manager AED 409,000 (INR 91,04,088)
Mechanical Engineer AED 184,000 (INR 40,95,727)

Canada, with its strong economy and diverse job market, also presents excellent career opportunities for international students. With its immigrant-friendly policies, many students find permanent residency pathways in Canada. The maximum average annual salary in Canada is around CAD 534,000 (INR 33,181,104) as of 2023.

JobsAverage Annual Salaries as of 2023
Accountant CAD 54,919 (INR 3,412,427)
Finance Director CAD 116,972 (INR 7,268,574)
Credit Analyst CAD 54,909 (INR 3,411,702)
Mechanical Engineering CAD 70,795 (INR 4,399,620)
Chartered Accountant CAD 75,345 (INR 4,681,795)

Taxes in Canada and Dubai

Canada has a progressive tax system, with tax rates varying based on income levels. On the other hand, Dubai, known for its tax-free environment, attracts professionals seeking to maximize their income potential.


Still wondering if Canada or Dubai is the best option for your study abroad plans? Consider your individual preferences, academic goals, and budget before settling for a destination. Both countries have their unique advantages and can provide you with a transformative educational experience. It is essential to conduct thorough research and consider various factors before making your decision.


Dubai or Canada, which is better?

Canada is renowned for its top-ranked universities, offering high-quality education and research opportunities. However, Dubai's universities are rapidly developing and offer diverse programs.

Is it cheaper to study in Dubai or Canada?

Generally, studying in Canada is more cost-effective, with lower tuition fees and various scholarship opportunities. Dubai's education costs may be higher, but it offers a unique cultural experience.

Can international students work while studying in Canada or Dubai?

Yes, both countries permit international students to work part-time while studying, subject to certain restrictions and regulations.

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Kanika has 5+ years of experience as a writer and content developer. She has written for a wide range of industry verticals, including hospitality, restaurants, non-profits, finance, IT, HR, technology, payroll, and education. She has worked as a creator for a few leading companies and has also helped brands grow through her creative writing.

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