Canada has been a country that has relied on immigration to help fuel its economic growth and address labour shortages. According to Statistics Canada, in 2020, about 21% of the country’s population was foreign-born, and about 50% of the population was either foreign-born or had at least one foreign-born parent. Moreover, Canada immigration is the dream of many people in the indo-pacific region for various reasons such as quality education, work-life balance, quality of life etc.
In recent years, immigration has accounted for a significant portion of Canada’s population growth, with many immigrants coming to the country to work and join their families.
The Indo pacific region is an important source of immigrants to Canada. According to Immigration, Refugees and citizenship, the Indo-pacific region is one of the top three source regions for immigration to Canada, along with Europe and the Americas.
Countries in the Indo pacific region contribute half of the total Canada PR. For example, India, China and the Philippines contributed to 44% of the total PR receiver in the last five years. In addition, 20% of new Canadians and 60% of international students come from the indo-pacific region. Additionally, 18% of Canadians have family ties in the indo-pacific region.
Why are Indo-pacific Regions Important for Canada’s Immigration Policy?
- The region is home to a large and diverse young population, with many interested in immigrating to Canada for various reasons, such as reuniting with family, work or study opportunities or better quality of life.
- Strong cultural and historical connection to Canada. Many people from this region have family ties to Canada, and longstanding trading and diplomatic relations exist between Canada and countries in the Indo-pacific region.
Canada launched its Indo pacific strategy On 27 November 2022. It was launched keeping in mind the importance of the Indo-pacific region for Canada immigration requirements. The external affairs ministry plan to invest 2.3 billion USD in the next five years as part of this strategy. It plans to spend on various programmes and schemes to foster a deep relationship based on common interests and requirements.
The Objective of Indo-pacific Strategy from Ministers
Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, while introducing this strategy, observed that,
“The future of the Indo-Pacific is our future; we have a role to play in shaping it. But, to do so, we need to be true, reliable partners. So today, we are putting forward a Canadian strategy involving every facet of our society. It sends a clear message to the region that Canada is here, and they can trust we are here to stay.”
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and citizenship Sean Fraser emphasised the importance of investments made through the indo-pacific strategy in improving the Canada immigration process. He observed that,
“The Indo-Pacific region is vital for Canada’s immigration and will continue to be in the future. Today’s announcement brings significant new funding to help boost Canada’s visa application processing capacity at home and abroad. As we look to record growth in admissions in the years ahead, this funding will help promote greater diversity among those looking to work and study in Canada.”
Key Elements in the Indo-pacific Strategy Relating to Canada Immigration
- Indo-pacific strategy chart out 5 strategic objectives and initiatives as under:
- Promoting peace, resilience and security,
- Expanding trade, investment and supply chain resilience,
- Investing in and connecting people,
- Building a sustainable and green future and,
- Canada as an active and engaged partner to the Indo-Pacific
- The heart of Canada’s Indo-pacific strategy is investing in ties between people of the indo-pacific region and Canada. This is one of the five strategic objectives of the strategy. To implement this objective, an investment of 75 million is to be made in improving Canada’s immigration processing capabilities in the next five years. It is to be made in countries in the Indo-pacific region. It focuses on enhancing Canada visa processing capacity in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Islamabad and Manila. This initiative will reduce the long pending temporary visas such as visitor visa, student visa, and work visa from this region.
- The strategy will develop greater cultural connections with the Indo-pacific diaspora community and their native countries. It will help people feel closer.
- The strategy will strengthen the International student programme for students coming from Indo-pacific countries by providing PR and work permits. It is important for Canada to attract skilled professionals to fulfil the need for the required workforce for the economy.
- Make travel from indo-pacific countries to Canada easier, quicker and safer. A new and modernized Air Transport Agreement may be entered to make travel easier for everyone. These initiatives will further increase people-to-people connections and help them explore business investments etc., opportunities in Canada.
- Increase diplomatic and security engagement with ASEAN.
- Support the objective of francophone immigration as countries like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have huge French-speaking populations.
- Invest in cultural initiatives to bring people closer and allow them to explore and experience rich art forms and traditions of the region and Canada.
Plan to spend $147 million in expanding its influence in the region by strengthening its missions in countries of the Indo-pacific region.
- A special envoy for the indo-pacific region will oversee the implementation of this strategy.
- Canada will open its first mission in indo-pacific island countries in Fiji.
- Canada will open its first diplomatic mission in Hawaii to connect with the US and others.
- Canada will continue to grow people-to-people and economic ties with Taiwan.
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