India has emerged as the second largest source country for permanent residents (PRs) in Canada, accounting for more than 38,000 or 15% of the total, according to the latest government data.
The Annual Report on Immigration tabled in Parliament showed a spike in the number of PRs from India. The latest data for the year 2014 showed an increase of more than 5,000 PRs from India as compared to the figure for the previous year.
India in second only to the Philippines as a source country for PRs. It has remained among the top three source countries, along with the Philippines and China, for several years.
The report further stated that Canada will allow in almost 20,000 more immigrants this year than the number that was planned for 2015. This is the first immigration plan from the new Liberal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship John McCallum stated: “Canada is a country that was built in large part thanks to generous immigration programs and the entrepreneurial spirit of those who have chosen to make Canada their home.
“It is crucial that the government of Canada’s programs and initiatives continue to adapt to Canada’s and the world’s changing needs, as they have throughout our history.”
The government plans on reducing the qualifying period for citizenship from residency for four out of six years to three out of five.
While the focus of recent Canadian immigration policy has been on Syrian refugees, there was concern that this would adversely impact the number of immigrants from other categories.
However, this has been allayed by the report, as Toronto-based immigration lawyer Ravi Jain said, “If one is going to make some parts of the pie bigger (refugees and spouses and parents), one either has to reduce the size of the other piece of pie (economic class) or increase the overall size of the pie itself.
“The government has chosen to increase the overall size of the pie.”
The plan also emphasises on family reunification and moving “towards granting immediate permanent residency to new spouses entering Canada, thereby eliminating the conditional two-year waiting period”, according to the report.
Jain said, “I am delighted that many of my Indian clients will hopefully no longer have to wait years to sponsor their spouses. Many of my clients have been waiting for many years for their parents to obtain permanent residence and it seems processing time could come down here as well.”
Canada is home to more than 1.25 million people of Indian origin and a record 19 Indo-Canadians were elected to the Parliament in last year’s general election.