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Canada’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific countries is key to our migration future

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Posted on Dec 5, 2022 at 08:00 am EST


On November 30, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a press release reinforcing the value of the country’s relationships with nations in the Indo-Pacific region regarding the future of immigration to Canada. .

A relationship that has been “forged through generations of deep… connections”, the Indo-Pacific region has also more recently become the main birthplace of many Canadian immigrants.

Recent history of Canada’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific

In fact, according to 2021 Canada Census data, four of the top seven countries of birth—India (1), Philippines (2), China (3) and Pakistan (7)—of recent immigrants to Canada (between 2016 and 2021) are found in this geographic area. What’s more, the top three countries of birth for recent Canadian immigrants listed above accounted for nearly half (44%) of all admitted permanent residents in that five-year period.

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Canada’s international student population is also heavily influenced by the Indo-Pacific region, with almost 65% of the country’s total international students coming from this area of ​​the world.

Enter: The Indo-Pacific Strategy

Consequently, says the IRCC, “as a major source of new arrivals to Canada and the fastest growing economic region in the world, the Indo-Pacific will continue to play a vital role in Canada’s immigration strategy.”

Officially released by Global Affairs Canada on November 27, the Indo-Pacific Strategy calls for initiatives and investments of nearly $2.3 billion by 2027.

Canada’s plans with the Indo-Pacific Strategy

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser revealed, as part of the November 30 statement, that “an investment of $74.6 million over 5 years and $15.7 million ongoing” will strengthen efforts already underway to improve immigration Canadian immigrant application processing capabilities both domestically and in the Indo-Pacific. countries.

As part of this statement, IRCC made specific mention of New Delhi, Chandigarh, Islamabad and Manila, three cities, excluding Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, located in the two countries (India and Philippines) that ranked first and second, respectively, among reported births. nations of recent immigrants from Canada.

More educational opportunities for international students

Among the more direct investments Canada will make to further strengthen its relationship with the Indo-Pacific countries is the introduction of Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and the Development Education Exchange program.

This program will provide $14.2 million in funding over the next five years, designed to “foster valuable exchanges and knowledge sharing, and to introduce more education and research in areas of shared interest.”

This education-focused program supports international students for the “immense social and economic contributions” they have made to this country. “Funding received through the Indo-Pacific Strategy will help strengthen Canada’s International Student Program and promote greater diversity in the region among those seeking to study” in Canada.

Canada intends to use these funds to help give international students more “access to permanent residence and job opportunities,” which the government hopes “could lead to [a greater desire to] stay in Canada.

Therefore, IRCC says that the investments it makes in the Indo-Pacific strategy will attract an even greater number of international students, “who often become highly skilled workers.” [that] Canada needs to face the challenges [faced by] our economy.”

Looking to the future

IRCC makes it clear that the Canadian government recognizes the “profound” and “significant” impact that the Indo-Pacific region and its various countries have had and will continue to have on the future of Canadian immigration.

In the words of Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, “the future of the Indo-Pacific region is our future, and Canada has a role in shaping it. We are investing to promote peace and security throughout the region, create business opportunities, connect people, strengthen international assistance and protect human rights, answering the call for broader and deeper engagement in this region.”

Time will tell how Canada strengthens its ties with the Indo-Pacific, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the Canadian government’s immigration department believes that “by investing in our immigration system and building a strong mutual partnership with the Indo-Pacific, Pacific”, Canada stands ready and committed to the long-term prosperity of both regions.

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