India-Canada Diplomatic Standoff: What It Means for Indian Students in Canada
Amidst the ongoing diplomatic standoff between India and Canada following the killing of a pro-Khalistani leader, immigration experts have shed light on the implications for Indian students pursuing education in Canada. Despite the tensions, the consensus is that Indian students have “hardly anything to lose” in this situation, while Canada stands to face significant challenges.
The Indian government’s suspension of visa processing for Canadian nationals has forced Canadian universities to resort to digital means for recruiting young talent for the upcoming academic year. If the restrictions persist, Canadian colleges will be unable to conduct immigration events such as study fairs and consultancies aimed at attracting Indian students.
Piyush Kumar, Regional Director for South Asia and Mauritius at IDP Education, emphasized the critical role Indian students play in Canada’s education system, stating, “Canadian authorities cannot afford to lose their current position among Indian students. As much as 40% of the total international students in Canada are from India, and Canadian institutions heavily rely on the fees generated by these students. If Indian students stop going there, the Canadian institutions will face financial challenges, impacting jobs in Canada and public sentiment.”
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) 2022 report, there are currently 3,19,130 Indian students in Canada, with Indians holding the majority of seats among international students in both colleges and universities. The report also highlights that the main reason international students choose Canada is its reputation as a “safe” and “inclusive” place.
However, with this image of Canada being in jeopardy due to the diplomatic standoff, experts believe that Canada may have more to lose than India. Indian students have alternative options for affordable study destinations in countries like Ireland and Germany. Manisha Zaveri, Joint Managing Director of Career Mosaic, pointed out, “Many students who are nervous about recent developments are expanding their horizons and applying to study in Germany, France, and Ireland. Students who were planning to attend top-tier universities can also find admissions in the US and Australia.”
Nevertheless, academically strong students may find alternative options easily, while those who intended to settle in Canada might reconsider their plans due to the lack of a similar ecosystem elsewhere. Piyush Kumar of IDP stated, “Students who aim for immigration will hardly find a similar ecosystem elsewhere, and these are the students who might consider deferment as they want to stick to Canada.”
Impact on Future Admissions
Canada has invested considerable effort in establishing itself as a preferred study destination, and it is determined not to lose its position. With India suspending Canadian visas, many universities and colleges may face challenges in conducting recruitment exercises in India. However, if this trend continues, other countries like the UK, Germany, and the US may capture Canada’s share of international students.
Vibha Kagzi, CEO of ReachIvy.com, stressed the importance of Indian talent for Canada’s economy, stating, “Canada needs the Indian talent to come to their campus as well as to perform all kinds of jobs and sustain their economy by offering both human capital and foreign exchange.”
Many Canadian colleges and universities have reached out to Indian students, offering support and counseling during this diplomatic tussle. They emphasize the “inclusive” and “diverse” environment in Canada while prioritizing students’ mental well-being on campus.
Karunn Kandoi, Chief Experience Officer at ApplyBoard, a Canada-based recruitment platform for international students, highlighted that there have been no early indicators of changes in student preferences. He emphasized that Indian students continue to have their study permits and visas processed by the Canadian government, making Canada an attractive destination for international students worldwide.
While the India-Canada diplomatic standoff has raised concerns among Indian students studying in Canada, experts suggest that Indian students have alternative study destinations available. However, Canada’s institutions and economy rely heavily on Indian students, and the country remains committed to retaining its position as a top study destination.
As the situation evolves, it is essential for Canadian authorities to address the concerns of Indian students and maintain their reputation for inclusivity and safety to continue attracting international talent.
|Total Indian Students in Canada (2022)||3,19,130|
|Indian Students in Canadian Universities||80,270|
|Indian Students in Canadian Colleges||2,09,930|
– Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) 2022 Report
– Interviews with immigration experts and education professionals