The Canadian Federal Government has been in a dispute with the Indian Federal Government over an alleged Indian Government involvement in the death of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh leader in B.C. This dispute comes at the same time as a high immigration policy is in effect where many citizens of India are immigrating into Canada.
For example, between April 2022 and March 2023, of the 32,000 international tech workers who migrated to Canada, 15,000 came from India. The short and long-term impact of the Nijjar murder dispute is uncertain. Many recent-arriving Indians already living in Canada are settling in and are now awaiting word on whether their family members will be able to join them. The dispute over Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s death may very well be delaying immigration decisions since the related embassy activities and embassy staff are not able to process workers as quickly as in the past. The Canadian Federal government is now faced with the potential of a shift of strategy. In 2021, the immigration strategy for Canada resulted in 25 per cent of new Canadians having come from India. That appears about to change.
Parallel to the India-Canada uncertainty, the wars in the Ukraine and Middle East may very well also impact the immigration strategy. Refugees coming into Canada from war-torn areas will no doubt increase and replace many of the previously planned Indian applicants.
Processing immigration applications from India has reportedly been taking up to three years. The conflict between India and Canada may now delay that even further. Indian foreign workers are often sought after by Canadian companies because of their skills. A high percentage come to Canada with experience or degrees in software and data science. Individuals with those skills are now in short supply in Canada and there may be a challenge in attaining workers in those areas of expertise in Canada. It is equally an opportunity for citizens from other countries to now fill that need.
With the 2021 birth rate in Canada at an all-time low of 1.4 new births per woman, well below the replacement rate of 2.0, the future of immigration goals is perhaps about to change significantly. Nigeria, China and the Philippines also remain important countries as sources for new Canadian residents and workers.
2024 may very well see more immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Gaza, West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon fill the voids of the workers needed to fill the void that Indian immigration will not fill. Ukrainian refugees coming into Canada have already increased quite substantially and it stands to reason the same will now occur with Middle East refugees.
One may not expect a speedy resolution of the India-Canada conflict as India soon enters a ‘red-zone’ given the federal election in India is anticipated for the spring of 2024. The election may exacerbate the delay in any long-lasting solution.
In the meantime, Palestinian’s and Israel’s calls for help will grow.