Bilateral tensions result in fewer Indians immigrating to Canada

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Bilateral tensions result in fewer Indians immigrating to Canada

The number of Indian applications for permanent residency in Canada fell by more than 62% in December 2023, indicating the impact of bilateral tensions between New Delhi and Ottawa on immigration patterns.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data shows that from 16,796 in 2022 to 6,329 in 2023, less applications were submitted for December. This pattern continued into the last quarter of 2023, as the number of Indian applications decreased from 35,735 to 19,579 during that time.

The state of bilateral ties following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement in the House of Commons on September 18, 2018, that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the June 18, 2018, killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, may have been one of several factors contributing to that decline.

The fact that the numbers have significantly increased in the prior months, including September, indicates the relationship for the October–December quarter. The aggregate figure for the year increased to 90,215 out of a total of 38,6577 from all nations in 2022 to 112,107 out of 426,730 last year, thanks to the higher PR application numbers between January and September 2023.

The diminished diplomatic presence of Canada in India, which resulted from the October request for the departure of 41 of its ambassadors as New Delhi sought "parity" in presence—an action that Ottawa referred to as "mass expulsion"—contributes to the decline in numbers as well. This included fewer IRCC employees working there.

The publication Better Dwelling was the first to report on the downward trend in numbers, noting that Canada's deteriorating ties with important immigration sources are undoubtedly a factor in the problem.

Canada has previously declared that it will not be raising PR levels anytime soon. Ottawa declared in December that it will stick to its 2022 announcements of 485,000 permanent residents for 2024 and 500,000 for 2025. The government will stabilize the number of permanent residents at 500,000 starting in 2026, giving time for successful integration, while continuing to strengthen Canada's labor market, according to a statement from the IRCC at the time.