Immigration from India to Canada shows a promising future in 2014. According to Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism, the two countries share “close people-to-people ties, which are demonstrated by the large numbers of Indians coming to Canada to work, study and visit.” With the newly announced goal of welcoming 265,000 immigrants in 2014, Canada continues to demonstrate its commitment to fortify its relations with India.
According to Uppal, in 2013, Canada’s Chandipargh and New Delhi offices issued 84,672 visitor visas and 13,613 study permits. These numbers represent a 73 percent and 321 percent increase since 2008, respectively.
India is currently the third largest country of origin for immigration in Canada. The Indo-Canadian community comprises more than 1 million people, with the majority residing in metropolitan areas such as the Greater Toronto Area.
This number will likely rise with fast-track visa processes such as the Business Express Program (BEP) and the Student Partners Program. Created in 2008, BEP’s purpose is to “provide qualified businesses and their employees several service advantages,” such as reduced paperwork and expedited processing of visa applications. Under BEP, 2,793 Indians were granted visas in 2013. Similarly, as a result of the Student Partners Program, India was the second largest source of students in Canada in 2011.
The two countries also enjoy a strong commercial relationship. Canadian exports to India include vegetables, fertilisers, machinery, wood pulp, precious stones, iron and steel. In exchange, Canada receives from India chemicals, precious stones and metals, knit and woven apparel, and machinery. As a result, the total bilateral trade has steadily increased, rising from 1.79 in 2005 to 2.5 billion CAD in 2011. Prime Ministers Singh and Harper have pledged their commitment to raise these figures even higher, specifically to $15 billion by 2015.
Science and technology initiatives were also advanced after Stephen Harper’s official state visit to India in November 2012. In order to promote further technology and knowledge exchange, Canada and India agreed to institutionalize annual Strategic Dialogues between their respective Foreign, Trade, and Energy Ministries.
Canada and India also continue to hold regular dialogues on regional and global security. Both countries concurrently pledged support to help transform Afghanistan to a more stable and democratic state. In the past, Canada and India have also partnered in the G-20 to co-chair several working groups.
These wide-ranging cooperation initiatives in the commercial, technology, and political spheres are supported by recent changes to Canada’s immigration policies. To accommodate frequent travelers and attract more visitors, Canada extended its multiple-entry visas in 2011 from five to ten years and has created a new Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, valid for up to two years.
“We’re very proud to be continuing the strongest sustained levels of immigration, particularly economic immigration, in Canadian history, said Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
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