As Canada pulls personnel out of India due to a row over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, immigration is expected to drop.
The Toronto Star cited senior government sources as saying the drop in staff in India will create a backlog of 17,500 “final decisions” across Canada’s global immigration system by the end of this year, over a two-month period.
The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals Canada welcomed 22,460 new permanent residents from India in July and August.
IRCC data also reveals that Canada approved 77,935 work permits for Indians under the International Mobility Program (IMP) and another 5,310 work permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) during the same two months.
That’s a total of 105,705 final decisions made about work permits and permanent residents for Indians hoping to come to Canada in July and August.
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A drop of 17,500 in those decisions – if the senior government officials are including work permits in their calculations – would represent a slowdown of 16.5 per cent.
A 17,500-drop in permanent residency decisions over the coming two months – if the government officials were referring only to permanent residency decisions – would be a reduction of almost 78 per cent.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller has made it clear that regardless of the diplomatic tension in Indo-Canadian relationship, Canada will continue to accept and process all immigration applications from India.
In the latest escalation in the Indo-Canadian diplomatic tug-of-war, India threatened to revoke official protections of Canadian diplomats. Ottawa has responded by pulling out dozens of Canadian diplomats and their families from India.
The spark which started this diplomatic row was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claim in September that Indian agents were involved in the slaying of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
Slain Canadian Citizen Had Been Branded A Terrorist By India
“Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau reportedly said in the House of Commons.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves.
“As you would expect, we have been working closely and co-ordinating with our allies on this very serious matter.”
India dismissed the allegations, calling them absurd.
“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” India’s ministry of external affairs reportedly replied.
“The inaction of the Canadian government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern.”
The victim had been a supporter of an independent Khalistani state, a Sikh homeland, and had been branded a terrorist and leader of a militant separatist group by India
The Toronto Star reports only a third of Canada’s contingent remains at Canada’s High Commission in New Delhi
An anonymous source reportedly told the newspaper that 22 immigration officials have been pulled from India, slightly more than 41 of those Canadian government employees who left.
India The Most Important Source Of New Permanent Residents To Canada
India is the most important source of new permanent residents to Canada, far outstripping the contribution of second-place China in the top ten list of sources of new permanent residents.
The latest IRCC data reveals India provided 118,245 new permanent residents to Canada last year, or more than 27 per cent of the total 437,610 new permanent residents last year.
In 2022 and again this year, the vast majority of Indians gaining permanent residency in Canada immigrated here through economic programs, most notably the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
The popularity of the CEC for Indians seeking permanent residency in Canada is a natural offshoot of their high number of international students from India at Canadian colleges and universities and Indians working in Canada under temporary work permits.
Last year, more than 41.1 per cent of all study permits issued to international students in Canada went to Indians. The IRCC issued 225,940 study permits to Indians in 2022 out of a total 549,260 for the year.
The IRCC allows students to work while studying in Canada.
A student may be able to work in Canada during his or her studies under the following categories:
- On campus without a Work Permit;
- Off campus with a Work Permit;
- In Co-op and Internship Programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum, with a Work Permit.
Spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are also eligible for work permits for the duration of the study permit.
Indians Granted 161,295 Temporary Work Permits In Canada Last Year
Upon graduation, a foreign student may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under this program, the work permit may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.
The valuable work experience gained while an international grad works in Canada under a PGWP can count towards a permanent residence application through Canada Express Entry system.
Under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used by Express Entry system programs, applicants for immigration are assigned points based on:
- work experience;
- language ability;
- language ability and education of the applicant’s spouse or common law partner;
- possession of a job offer supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA);
- possession of a provincial government nomination for permanent residence, and;
- certain combinations of language skills, education and work experience that result in a higher chance of the applicant becoming employed (skill transferability).
Indians are also a valuable source of temporary foreign workers for Canadian businesses. Last year, 18,980 Indians received work permits under the TFWP and another 142,315 Indians got work permits through the IMP.
That was a total of 161,295 temporary foreign workers from India who got their work permits last year.