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Number of Indian migrants in Canada increases despite Syrian refugee influx

Among Canada’s permanent residents, India was the second-largest source country for the third year in succession.

world Updated: Nov 02, 2017 18:29 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times, Toronto
Syrian refugees,Canada,citizenship minister Ahmed D Hussen
Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship Ahmed D Hussen.(Courtesy: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)

The influx of Syrian refugees into Canada last year did not impact the number of permanent residents admitted from India. Their number grew marginally by just over 250 to 39,789 in 2016, making India the second-largest source country for the third year in succession, and trailing only immigrants from the Philippines.

However, Syrians displaced Chinese immigrants as the third-largest group. This was revealed in data released as part of the annual report on immigration tabled in Parliament on Wednesday by immigration, refugees and citizenship minister Ahmed D Hussen.

The Canadian government also presented a three-year policy for intake of immigrants that may prove beneficial to prospective immigrants from India since the quotas for the economic and family categories, which are used by many Indians, have been raised.

Immigration lawyer Ravi Jain, of Toronto-based firm Green and Spiegel, said: “This is all incredible news for Indians and also for Indian students (who are coming to Canada in record numbers) as it provides a growing allotment over the next three years of permanent residence ‘spots’.”

Immigration lawyer Ravi Jain (in white suit) at an immigration event at a college in Ontario. ( Courtesy: Ravi Jain )

According to the report, the plan that was introduced “sets out the most ambitious immigration levels in recent history”, and will provide 340,000 permanent resident spots by 2020.

In a statement, Hussen said, “This historic multi-year immigration levels plan will benefit all Canadians because immigrants will contribute their talents to support our economic growth and innovation, helping to keep our country at the forefront of the global economy.”

Canada admitted 296,346 permanent residents in 2016, an increase of a little less than 25,000 over the previous year. Of these, 53% were economic immigrants and 26% comprised family-sponsored immigrants and another 20% were resettled refugees and protected persons.

The numbers for 2016 were the highest since 2010 and the trend of increasing intake will continue in the next three year, according to the new plan.

Jain was optimistic about the outlook for Indians seeking to move to Canada: “The big news is that they are doing levels planning for the next three years. This is new as previously it was one year at a time. Indians should be very happy as the family class and economic categories are growing over time.

“There will be more room for parental sponsorships and spousal sponsorships, for instance, growing each year.”

He added, “Also, many Indians immigrate under the Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Programs, both of which are growing. Express Entry covers those who immigrate based on working here for at least one year and also those who may have no prior contact with Canada and rely on their human capital “points” (covering such elements as education, work experience and language ability).”

Given the backlash against illegal immigration in provinces such as Quebec, Hussen also attempted to reassure Canadians that the plan was carefully calibrated, as he said, “While Canada will continue to be a welcoming country that embraces our diversity, the government is also aware of the ongoing need to balance our openness with the security and safety of Canadians.

“This balance is critical to the future success of our immigration program, to ensure it continues to bring economic and social benefits to Canada. We remain committed to reuniting more families faster and to upholding our humanitarian obligations, while we strive to make our immigration system more efficient and responsive to our economic needs.”

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 18:02 IST