Masters in Canada vs US

I am working as a software engineer in India for past 2 years and want to peruse masters in computer science to experience education abroad. I am concerned about the ROI of doing masters in Canada as the salary are very low there as compared to US and infact the saving in Canada will tend to be less as compared to what I will be saving in India. I have a very good salary here in India. My reason for considering Canada is to avoid the visa concerns in US. Can someone share their thoughts on this ?

If I consider options of moving to us after ms in Canada. There are 2 options that I know of:
The option of pr->citizenship->TN seems to be very long
Other option could be H1B or L1
Which is better in your opinion and why?

I think you have accurately laid out all the options, starting salaries in Canada are significantly lower than they are in America. Except California, the rate of taxation is also higher in all Canadian provinces; this coupled with the high cost of living will leave less money in your pocket at the end of the day.

You do have to balance this with the fact that the Canadian immigration process after pursuing education here is much smoother and there are no H1 lotteries to contend with, I know people who’ve not gotten picked up in 3 consecutive attempts (it’s a slim minority, but a possibility nevertheless).

It really depends on what you’re looking for, if it’s the pure academic experience then you should really be focussing on the Schools that you’re interested and pursue that regardless of what country that is in.
If you want to maximize your return on investment, then pursuing a masters degree is honestly not the best idea, you should consider Express Entry to immigrate to Canada directly or a company specific work permit, there is no cost to you for either of the options.
And for better wages, you should move in your company on a L1 visa or ask them to move you abroad and try for the H1 lottery. In both these cases, you start earning money straightaway and 2 years of work experience is hands on better than any degree in terms of your employability and the ability to command higher wages.

My $0.02 of advice to anyone in your position is that as a young person without any dependents, the uncertainty and lack of permanence in America are vastly overshadowed by the higher wages and the opportunity to explore and experience much much more as compared to Canada. Once you’re established and want to lay down your roots, then it’s time to consider the realities of the Green Card backlog and consider moving up north (this is what we did) because at this point the value of permanence and clarity in the future outweighs the other side.

Thanks for this great answer.
I am, indeed, targeting couple of University of Canada. What’s the scene after completing masters in Canada and then moving to US on H1B or L1? (Will take atleast 1 year [in FAANG])

For H1 or L1, the country you reside in doesn’t really matter. H1 is a lottery worldwide, you need to find a US employer willing to sponsor you for this.
L1 is an intra-company transfer for which you need to have worked in that company for atleast 1 year outside the US. So these routes are the same for you, whether you were to try these from India or from Canada.

From your original post, you mentioned that you had a couple of years of work experience already so I’d recommend looking into Express Entry, the Federal Skilled Workers was paused for external candidates for the last couple of years but has opened up today. The main benefits of this route to you would potentially be -

  1. You will be able to come to Canada as a PR which allows you to work/study and if you choose to study then you will be eligible for the domestic tuition vs international tuition, I’ve not looked at any numbers closely but from what I understand the difference is significant.
  2. If your program is 2 years, then you will also accrue 2 years of residence towards the needed 3 years in a 5 year timeframe in the eligibility for Canadian citizenship.
  3. Canadian citizenship opens up the TN visa route which is not subject to the H1 lottery requirements, nor are there any annual caps.

So if you are indeed interested in the Canadian universities, this may be another option to consider.

I think the posts already have lots of useful info.

Overall, I’d say, unless you get an admit to top schools like U Waterloo, etc, it is not worth it doing in Canada.

It is not worth doing masters - unless you get partial or full funding - in any other university outside the top 10 in Canada. Just my opinion.

Top schools would at least get you in top paying employers and they can sometimes help move you between Canada and US if needed.