A recent political conflict between Canada and India has raised concerns over the stability of the two countries’ immigration sector. It is crucial to address this issue rapidly, as India remains Canada’s leading source country for immigration. Through deliberate efforts and necessary adjustments, the two countries can harness the full potential of newcomers and foster stronger ties for mutual growth.
Recent tensions between Canada and India may pose a threat to the steady influx of Indian immigrants into Canada. Paused visa services and ensuing travel advisories might lead to a significant decline in the number of Indian students coming to study in Canadian educational institutions. This comes at an inconvenient time for an aging Canadian population that relies on Indian immigrants for economic sustenance.
In 2021, a staggering 118,095 Indians became permanent Canadian residents. This further highlights India’s significance as an immigration source for Canada – vital as their low birth rate demands external support to maintain living standards. The majority of Canadian immigration is based on economic reasons, unlike the United States, which primarily depends on family-based immigration.
The benefits brought by new immigrants include better employment opportunities for Canadians due to diversity promoting innovation and trade. However, critics argue that GDP per capita should be prioritized and large numbers of new entrants could potentially depress this critical indicator. Addressing these concerns and capitalizing on the advantages could yield optimal results.
To do so, three essential steps must be taken:
Focus on productivity:
Canada should put emphasis on achieving higher productivity levels comparable to or exceeding those of Americans and Europeans. With many small- and medium-sized businesses facing an imminent retirement wave among owners, Canada needs ambitious entrepreneurs who can boost productivity.
Invest in newcomer integration:
Efforts directed towards supporting various immigrant communities with educational programs, English language instruction, job placement initiatives, and cultural exchanges can help to reduce barriers between Canadian-born citizens and immigrants. Reduced barriers will enable newcomers to contribute positively to the Canadian economy.
Encourage bilateral cooperation:
Canada and India should work together to strike agreements aimed at streamlining their immigration processes, fostering stronger educational exchange programs, joint research opportunities, and supporting skilled workers in both countries.
Canada’s housing crisis has been an ongoing issue for decades, and it’s unfair to put the blame on international students. To address this issue, governments at all levels need to work together urgently.
Furthermore, provincial governments should not rely on international students as a significant funding source for universities and community colleges. While these students contribute $22 billion in tuition to the Canadian economy, there have been reports of exploitation within some educational institutions.
Such exploitation includes private colleges partnering with public ones for diploma issuance and holding classes in strip malls or movie theatres. These private colleges often provide diplomas that are ineligible for coveted work permits after graduation. The federal government should prevent student visa issuance in such cases.
In addition to addressing educational exploitation, it is crucial to monitor immigration consultants more closely due to increased fraudulent activities among registered consultants in Canada and their non-registered counterparts in India. A possible solution could involve requiring all immigration consultants to work under the supervision of professionally regulated lawyers.
Taking these measures could potentially reduce immigration from India, resulting in a more balanced distribution of international students within Canada while maintaining India as a primary source country for international students.
By examining the benefits brought by Indian immigrants and temporary residents, as well as addressing the faults within the applicable systems, Canada can work towards improving its relationship with India and creating a more equitable environment for all parties involved.
The full potential of newcomers from India depends on a well-functioning immigration system and strong bilateral relations between the two countries. To reap the benefits of this rich human capital pipeline, Canada must take decisive steps by focusing on productivity, investing in integration, and encouraging cooperation with India. By doing so, the immigration pathway will remain robust for years to come, empowering both countries’ growth.
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