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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Why a Canadian province doesn’t want more Indian students

Prince Edward Island, in Canada, announced a 25% reduction in immigration permits, leading to protests by Indian students. Hundreds of Indian students face deportation. But why has the Canadian province changed its immigration rules and tried to curb the inflow of Indian students?

Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada’s smallest province, announced a 25% reduction in immigration permits, leading to widespread protests from hundreds of Indian students who are now facing deportation. They say the sudden changes by the Canadian province to the immigration policy have left them with an uncertain future. But why has the Canadian province changed its rules to curb the inflow of international students?

Though Prince Edward Island has acted, the problem that is now being associated with international students and lack of infrastructure development is an issue across Canada.

Immigration to Canada, known for its accommodative immigration and citizenship policies, hit a record high in recent years.

Statistics Canada labour force data show the country’s working-age population grew by 411,400 people in the first four months of 2024, a 47% increase over the same period in 2023 and nearly quadruple the average for those four months from 2007 to 2022, reported Yahoo News Canada.

One of the sources of these working-age people is the high volume of international students landing in Canada.

Among the international students, those from India constituted the largest national cohort, comprising 37% of the 579,075 permits issued until November 2023. This figure, however, marked a decrease from the 41% in 2022.

The number of Indians moving to Canada has gone up a lot since 2013. Between 2013 and 2023, the number rose from 32,828 to 139,715, a 326% increase. This increase was fuelled by more Indian students going to Canadian universities.

The number of international students at Canadian universities went up from 62,223 in 2000 to 400,521 in 2021, a 544% increase. International students have been really important for Canadian universities. Since 2000, 45% of the growth in enrolment at Canadian universities is because of international students.

The rise in immigration has put strain on healthcare and housing infrastructure of Prince Edward Island (PEI).

The Premier of PEI revealed a plan to cut the number of international migrants for permanent residency through the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP). The new policy prioritises essential workers in healthcare, childcare, and construction, while deprioritising those in the food, retail, sales, and service sectors, which the international students mostly engage in.

This change reduces annual permits from about 2,100 to 1,600, a 25% cut, significantly impacting low-skill service jobs.

“PEI offered 1,070 PNP slots in 2018, which doubled to 2,050 slots in 2023 — so this new 25% reduction to 1,600 in 2024 is still 75% higher than it was in 2018. But it’s going in the right direction, and that is the most we can realistically hope for,” stated the Karlstack report.

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