TORONTO: Indian students will be the major beneficiaries of Canada’s new one-time immigration programme which opened for applications on Wednesday.
Under the programme, over 90,000 international students and temporary essential workers, already in Canada, will be given permanent residence (PR).
Under it, 40,000 international students, 30,000 temporary workers in selected essential occupations and 20,000 temporary workers in health care will get permanent residence.
To be eligible, international students must have completed a post-secondary programme in Canada in the last four years.
Foreign workers must have at least one year of Canadian work experience in a health care profession or another pre-approved essential occupation.
Indian students will benefit proportionately more than others as they – numbering 220,000 last year – make up more than a third of all foreign students currently in Canada.
Before the pandemic closed international travel, Canada had planned to admit 341,000 immigrants in 2020.
The new PR programme aims at making up for the shortfall in immigration numbers in 2020 by prioritizing those already in Canada. Moreover, a record 401,000 new immigrants will be admitted in 2021.
Highlighting the significance of Wednesday’s programme, Immigration minister Marco Mendicino said, “The pandemic has shone a bright light on the contributions of newcomers in essential jobs, as we have recognized the caregivers, cooks and cashiers as our everyday heroes. With this new pathway, we are recognizing their key role in our economic recovery, allowing them to set down roots in Canada and help us build back better. Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting-and we want you to stay.”