India has been a major source of newcomers for Canada for many years. The country attracts many young, skilled Indians willing to overlook the higher cost of living for better career opportunities in world-class industries, to support families back home through remittance or for quality higher education.
Although India has closed the gap with many developed countries, the disparity is still noticeable, and many in India still associate Canada with better quality of life and outcomes. The Human Development Index, which measures a country’s achievements in human development based on life expectancy, education and standard of living, ranked Canada 15th while India placed 132nd.
The quality of life for an average Joe in the two countries also plays into the attraction, with Canada having better public infrastructure and systems for individuals and businesses.
The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business measures how conducive a country’s environment is for new businesses based on factors like ease of obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protection of investors, taxes, trade across borders etc., ranked Canada 23rd while India followed at 63rd.
Immigration Statistics in 2022
Between 2016 and 2021, Canada’s Immigrant population with a place of birth in India across all admission categories was 246,995.
In 2022 alone, 118,095 Indian-born applicants were granted permanent residency in Canada.
Attracting Indian Tech Talent
India has made a name for itself in the Technological field, with many global companies competing to recruit its brightest young stars. India was among the primary sources of talent for American Tech companies for many years. However, the increasing difficulty in securing a US H-1B status and its high rejection rates and low annual ceilings have made Canada a more attractive destination for highly skilled individuals.
The latest initiative by the Canadian government offering Canadian work permits for H-1B holders filled its initial intake of 10,000 applications in just two days, symbolizing Canada’s rise as a tech destination for professionals.
Higher studies are an important driver of Canadian immigration. According to Erudera, the country currently has over 807,750 study permit holders, with 551,405 receiving their permits in 2022. Of these, 226,450 study permit holders were from India, making it the single largest contributor of International students in Canada.
A growing preference for Canada was also observed in a report by the National Foundation for American Policy which found that the number of Indian students studying in Canadian colleges and Universities increased 182% between 2016 and 2019, while enrollments in science and engineering programs in the US declined by almost 40% for the same period.
Several reasons contribute to Canada being favoured as an educational destination among Indians. Chief among them is the IRCC’s incentives like the Student Direct Stream that fast tracks the study permit applications of students from specified countries, including India.
Also, Indian students who complete their studies in Canada can gain additional points when applying for permanent residency through Canada’s points-based immigration system. Completing a post-secondary education in Canada of one or two years carries an additional 15 points, and the same credential of three years or longer adds an additional 30 points under Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
Further, International students can also opt to work in Canada upon completing their studies. The Post-graduation work permit allows international students who graduate from a designated learning institution to continue to work temporarily in Canada for up to three years.
A cautionary tale for Indian students
A blemish in an otherwise stellar year for Indo-Canadian immigration was the deportation notices issued to 700 Indian students due to fraudulent college admission letters obtained from consultants back in India. The ongoing matter served as an eye-opener for eager students on the dangers of fraudsters looking to illegally manipulate the system.
The Canadian government has yet to act on the deportation notices in a humane approach that is symbolic of the cordial relationship between the two countries.
The Future of Indo-Canadian Immigration
The presence of a large Indian diaspora and notable figures in many of Canada’s top public and private sectors certainly helps in relations between the two countries and encourages immigration. The government also actively relies on this flow of skilled labour to tide over shortages faced by many Canadian sectors. The Immigration numbers will only continue to grow with the record-breaking targets set in the latest Immigration Levels plan 2023-2025.