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Indian students in Canada are concerned about job opportunities

October 9, 2023

As India-Canada relations face tension due to allegations by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against India, another significant concern is affecting Indian students in Canada – the scarcity of job opportunities.

In 2022, Canada witnessed an influx of 226,450 Indian students arriving to pursue higher education, making India the leading source country of international students entering the North American nation last year, according to data.

Erudera, a global education search platform, reports that the total number of international students across all education levels in Canada stands at 807,750, including higher education. Of these, 551,405 received study permits in Canada last year.

Erudera’s data reveals that India had the highest number of study permit holders in Canada in 2022, totaling 226,450 students.

“I am not overly concerned about the India-Canada rift. I am more anxious and worried about my future. Job opportunities are severely lacking here, and I am uncertain if I will secure employment after completing my studies,” shared Harwinder (name changed to protect privacy) with PTI.

Numerous Indian students in the Greater Toronto area expressed similar concerns.

Mayank (last name withheld) is currently pursuing a health services course at an institute in the Greater Toronto area. While he and his friends have not encountered difficulties following the diplomatic standoff between Delhi and Ottawa, what keeps him awake at night is the prospect of not finding employment once he completes his studies in Toronto.

“I know several Indian students with medical degrees here who have struggled to find well-paying jobs and have resorted to driving taxis and working in stores and restaurants to cover their expenses. It is a very challenging situation for us,” he remarked.

The high cost of living in and around Toronto and other Canadian cities is also a burden on students, who often have to live in cramped accommodations to save on rent and utilities.

“We came here with the hope that upon completing our education, we would secure well-paying jobs to support our families in India. However, there are no jobs; the cost of living and healthcare expenses are overwhelming, and we are struggling to make ends meet,” added another Indian student from Haryana who preferred to remain anonymous.

India and Canada have been engaged in a diplomatic standoff since allegations by Trudeau in the Canadian Parliament last month. Trudeau claimed that “Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing” of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil on June 18 in British Columbia. New Delhi vehemently rejected these charges as “absurd” and “motivated.”

Last week, India requested Canada to withdraw several dozen diplomats from its missions, further escalating the diplomatic dispute that erupted following Trudeau’s allegations. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, indicated that India would not reconsider its position on the matter.

According to ICEF Monitor, a market intelligence resource for the global education industry, there were 320,000 Indian students with active study permits at the end of December 2022, reflecting a 47 percent growth from the previous year.

“Indian students accounted for nearly four out of every ten foreign students in Canada as of the end of 2022,” stated ICEF Monitor.

Indian students described their plight as being caught between a rock and a hard place. They highlighted the sacrifices made by their families and parents in India to finance their higher education in Canada.

“Parents have had to sell properties, land, take massive loans to pay for the higher education of their children in Canada,” the students pointed out. “Our parents have spent a lot to send us to Canada to study. We had hoped that after arriving here, we would not take a single penny from our parents and instead would be able to help our families back home financially. We had hoped to find good jobs that sustain us and also enable us to take care of our families in India. We are not able to do that,” Mayank said.

Source: PTI

Also read: MEA advises Indian students in Canada to stay cautious and vigilant

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