TORONTO – Recruitment firms state that interest from workers moving between India and Canada has not significantly declined, despite rising concerns as tensions escalate.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Companies attribute the discomfort some Indians now feel about relocating to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mid-September announcement that a “potential connection” was uncovered between the Indian government and the killing of a Sikh leader in B.C., which Canada is investigating.
Canada later reduced its diplomatic presence in India after New Delhi threatened to revoke their diplomatic immunity and that of their families.
This move has angered many individuals.
“We have observed a substantial increase in people questioning why they should move to Canada,” said Ilya Brotzky, CEO and co-founder of VanHack, a Vancouver-based firm connecting employers and tech professionals worldwide.
Prior to the tension, he approximated that about 95 percent of his company’s interactions with Indians wanting to relocate to Canada were positive. Nowadays, this percentage has dropped to about 80 percent.
“We have never experienced anything like this before. It is a slightly concerning pattern,” he said.
Of the 32,115 international tech workers who migrated to Canada between April 2022 and March 2023, nearly half – 15,097 – came from India, according to a July report by the Technology Councils of North America and the Canadian Tech Network.
Canadian companies frequently prefer Indians due to their expertise, as stated by Arif Khimani, president and COO of Mobsquad, a Calgary firm aiding businesses in recruitment and visas.
A large proportion of the Indian population possesses work experience or degrees in engineering, software development, and data science – fields that are witnessing substantial growth in demand.
Many are willing to relocate because they perceive Canada as a country offering a high quality of life, relative safety, stunning landscapes, and a decent healthcare system, added Brotzky.
“While entry into Canada is easier than obtaining an American or European visa, there aren’t many superior alternatives,” he explained.
However, even before the conflict with India arose, he observed that some individuals were becoming hesitant to come to Canada due to the high cost of purchasing a home.
According to recent data from the Canadian Real Estate Association, the national median home price in September was $655,507, up 2.5 percent from September 2022.
“The political aspect is just one factor,” remarked Brotzky.
Nevertheless, strained relations between Canada and India should not dissuade individuals from considering immigration between the two countries, said Khimani.
“If we examine the applications we receive, we still observe a strong demand, and there are still numerous applications from India.”
However, those who have already taken this step but do not possess permanent residence or have applied for a visa prior to the changes in the current geopolitical environment are concerned.
“Naturally, what we are witnessing is panic and uncertainty regarding people’s ability to stay or the duration of the situation, or if things escalate, what the implications will be,” remarked Khimani.
“Regrettably, we do not have all the answers.”
Kumar Erramilli has discovered that employees who arrived from India to work at his Toronto-based life sciences learning platform company ACTO are unconcerned about the current stress because they have Canadian citizenship.
However, Erramilli and his two co-founders, both from India, are concerned about the team visit to Hyderabad arranged by ACTO.
Erramilli usually visits the group every November or December but is currently prohibited from doing so because he does not possess Overseas Citizenship of India status, which would allow him to travel more freely between the two countries.
India has suspended its other visa services for Canadians.
“At present, I am unable to obtain an Indian visa and travel to India, which significantly obstructs our workflow,” he explained.
“Similarly, I have been unable to bring some of my key strategic personnel to travel there and come to Canada without trouble, so it is presently somewhat challenging.”
However, they are more optimistic about a turnaround after news on Wednesday that the High Commission of India in Canada will resume processing particular types of visa applications for business, medical, and conference travel, as well as entry of individuals into India.
This report by The Canadian Press was initially published on October 26, 2023.
Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press