Canada and Australia are the two most popular options among skilled people from south Asian countries like China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, and others for migration.
I get asked this question many times as to which PR is better?
My answer is that it varies with your own situation and your preference for weather and how easily you can get the PR.
- If you are currently working in the US on a work visa like H1B and only looking to get PR as a backup, then your first preference should be Canada followed by Australia.
- If you are in your home country like India or China, then either country is good based on which one gets gives you PR invite first.
I am giving comparisons on other lifestyle areas that affect your decision to move.
This article will discuss:
Travel, Time Zone
If you are currently in US, then:
- If you have a choice between Canada and Australia, my suggestion is to go for Canada to stay in the same time zone as the US.
- You can also come to the US to work and go back anytime easily. Many people stay in Canada on the border and then travel to the US for work every day using their H1B or TN work visa.
You get to enjoy US salary and Canada’s PR. The USA does not give Green cards easily as the whole system is based on country of birth rather than skilled merit.
Working in US with Canada, Australia Citizenship
Once you get Canada or Australian citizenship, the US gives an option for each country to work in the US using a special type of work visa called TN visa for Canada and an E3 visa for Australians.
TN and E3 visa are other than L and H1B work visas.
If you want to file a US green card after getting Canada or Australia citizenship, you will still be in the same overloaded ‘country of birth’ queue, which you are probably trying to escape now.
- Canada’s IT salaries are lower than US salaries by almost half for the same job title and role.
- Australian IT salaries are better than Canada for the same job profile but still less than the US. Australia pays about AUD $90k for software
Both Canada and Australia have a low overall population and hence the majority of IT jobs are concentrated in big cities like Toronto, Canada, and Sydney in Australia.
Due to high concentration at one place, the cost of living is both cities is extremely high with respect to their salaries.
In contrast, the USA has IT jobs distributed all over the 50 states and you get more for each dollar if you are living in a city away from major hubs like Bay area, California, Boston, or New York City.
A software engineer with 5-10 years of experience can expect salary of:
- Canada: 60k CAD as salary (Exchange rate is usually 1 USD = 1.3 CAD)
- USA: $75k USD
- Australia: AUD $90k (Exchange rate is usually 1 USD = 1.4 AUD)
A Java Software Engineer may draw a salary of about USD 120K in New York City. The same job in Toronto, Canada will fetch about CAD $80k and AUD $100K in Sydney, Australia.
If you factor in the USD to CAD and USD to the AUD exchange rate, the salaries will look really low in Canada and Australia given the fact that the cost of living in both Toronto and Sydney are the same as living in New York City.
Cost of Living
#1 Electronics, Clothes, Cars Cost
With no doubt and no competition, the USA is the best country to buy cheapest branded clothes, cars, and electronics. You will not find any price lower in any other country as far as I know.
Prices for consumer products like TV, laptop, mobile, gaming consoles, etc are higher than the US in both Canada and Australia due to higher excise duties for imported products.
Local brands in Canada or Australia can be bought at lower rates than other well-known brands.
- Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, and Samsung Mobile is cheapest in the USA along with luxury cars like Lexus, BMW, and Audi.
- Branded clothes like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klien, Polo Ralph are available on sale throughout the year. People in Canada travel by road to the US, especially for shopping. The prices in Canada and Australia are almost double of what you pay in the US after the exchange rate and sale discounts.
- Apple Mac Laptop, Dell laptops are the most affordable in the US. The new models have launched first in the US always due to the big consumer market with high purchasing capacity.
#2 House Buying, Rental Costs
Rents and housing costs are higher in all 3 countries if you compare major cities like New York City, Toronto, and Sydney.
But, the US has an advantage due to the fact that it has more developed cities than a few major hubs.
You can get a decent job in Charlotte, NC, or Dallas, TX, and a big 4000 Sq Ft house for about half a million US dollars.
You may be able to find a similar house in Canada or Australia but you won’t be able to find a job in a small suburb to finance that purchase.
#3 Income Taxes
Canada and Australia have much higher income tax rates than the US. That’s because you are paying for free healthcare too as part of income tax.
- In the US, you pay the healthcare insurance as part of per pay check deduction if your employer has health insurance plans.
- At the end of the day, the total deduction would be almost the same in Canada, Australia, and US.
The benefit of private insurance is quick service whereas public free system works on the basis of first in first served.
There are cases that may not get an immediate appointment for surgery or treatment if a more needy person is waiting in the queue before you in Canada and Australia.
#4 Home, Car Insurance
Canada has a much higher rate of car insurance than the US. A Canadian may be easily paying CAD $200+ per month for new Honda civic as compared to about USD $90 per month.
Australia is somewhere closer to the US in car insurance rates but certainly higher.
In the US, my personal opinion is that you can save almost half of the insurance costs by buying only liability insurance.
Weather – Canada vs Australia
Canada is extremely cold as compared to warmer Australia for almost 8 months of the year.
If your kids like playing with snowballs, you should go to Canada. Each one of us has their own preference.
Australia stays warm most part of the year from September to March. Here is our picture from December enjoying the Nobbies Center viewpoint at Philip Island in Melbourne.
Healthcare – Canada vs Australia
Both Canada and Australia follow the same type of public healthcare system. Public Medical clinic costs are funded by taxes. You can buy private health insurance as per your choice.
This is the same as the FREE government hospital system in India but the quality of service is much better.
- Dental and eye care are not given free of cost in Canada and Australia. You will need to pay out of pocket or buy private insurance.
- There are income slabs too which will force you to buy private health insurance if your income is above a certain level. This will ultimately be the same as buying private insurance in the US.
What else can I cover here? Any other topic that you need some information with? Leave a comment and I will try to add more information.