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Canada is a very popular destination for Indian immigrants. An increasing number of Indians are immigrating to Canada to attend university and work in skilled professions. Many emigrate to Canada under permanent immigration programs. Others who do not qualify for skilled immigration right away may qualify for a permanent visa at a later date.
“In 2012, Canada plans to admit between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents. We have maintained the immigration levels despite the recession because our economic growth will require a steady stream of new immigrants to meet labour market demands,” says Simon Cridland, spokesperson of the High Commission of Canada in Delhi.
In 2010 Indians were among the highest numbers of immigrants who moved to Canada under the following categories: skilled workers, Canadian experience class, entrepreneurs, self-employed, investors and provincial nominees. In total, 30,252 Indians gained permanent resident status in Canada in 2010, an increase of more than 4,000 compared to 2009. In terms of source country for immigrants, India was second only to the Philippines.
“For skilled Indian professionals, the economic categories are very attractive. Many Indians have done very well in this country as entrepreneurs, executives, academicians and in public life,” says Deepak Obhrai, the Indo-Canadian MP from Calgary, Alberta.
Indians have chosen to move to popular cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary.
“Calgary now has over a 1,00,000 Indians. Various provinces have their own nominee programmes to attract skilled immigrants to fill in local shortages,” added Obhrai.
In addition to skilled workers, another popular Canadian immigration route for Indians is the student category. Recent initiatives from Canadian immigration like the post-graduation work permit programme and Canadian Experience Class have become attractive options for Indian students. In 2011, it is estimated around 13,000 Indian students studied in Canada.
The Canadian Experience Class fast-tracks permanent residency visa applications for skilled temporary foreign workers and graduate students who have spent time in Canada on temporary visas.
In order to be eligible for this visa class, applicants must be either: a temporary foreign worker with at least two years of full-time skilled work experience in Canada, or a foreign graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution with at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada. Applicants must also be fluent in English or French and apply while working in Canada or within one year of leaving their job in Canada.