Hundreds of Indian students facing ’deportation’ from Canada stage protest: ’Immigration policy changed overnight’

Canada's Prince Edward Island region government has decided to reduce the number of people from other countries it nominates for permanent residency. The move has left many Indian students in the lurch.

Livemint
First Published17 May 2024, 02:49 PM IST
The protesting students demanded an extension of work permits and a review of the recent changes to immigration policies.
The protesting students demanded an extension of work permits and a review of the recent changes to immigration policies.(HT)

Hundreds of Indian students in Canada's Prince Edward Island (PEI) region took to the streets on Friday to protest against the Canadian government for "changing the [immigration] policy overnight and denying them work permits." According to the Hindustan Times, the students alleged that despite graduating, they were denied work permits and now face deportation. However, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has denied the claims, saying that while there might be a few cases here or there, it doesn't see any major problem. 

The students reportedly threatened to go on a hunger strike if their demands weren't met.

The protests near the PEI government buildings began on May 9. According to CBC News, over 200 protesters gathered in Charlottetown on Monday, May 13, urging the provincial government to intervene and help the many foreign workers whose work permits are about to expire.

What's the new law?

In July last year, PEI passed a law restricting postgraduate work permits to students with specific qualifications. They now allow only students with construction, home-building and healthcare qualifications to get a permit.

This reportedly meant that hundreds of immigrants in other industries, such as retail sales and service, may not have their work permits extended when they run out in the next few months. This left many international students unable to continue working in Canada, the HT report said.

ALSO READ: 'Finished studies 3 years back and now..,' Indian students facing deportation risk in Canada

In February, the PEI government announced it would reduce the number of people from other countries that it nominates for permanent residency in Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). "The number of nominees will fall by 25 per cent in 2024, partly as a result of pressure on PEI's healthcare system and housing market," CBC News reported.

Protest leader Rupender Singh told CBC News, "They called us here, now they want us to leave...Our province gave us false hopes. Singh, who came to Canada from India in 2019, said, "They were giving us wrong information. This is totally an exploitation."

ALSO READ: Canada stays an Indian student's deportation, protesters say ‘temporary victory, need to keep pressure up’

What are Indian students demanding?

As per the report, the protesting students demanded an extension of work permits and a review of the recent changes to immigration policies.

They want to be ‘grandfathered’, which will allow them to be exempted from new regulations or policies based on their previous status or circumstances. A "grandfathered" status provides a measure of "stability and fairness in immigration systems", allowing individuals to plan their lives and futures with greater certainty, the HT reported.

ALSO READ: Canada to deport 700 Indian students for producing fake admission documents

The students are threatening a hunger strike if their demands aren't met by mid-May. Several videos showed a large group of Indian students marching through the streets of Charlottetown, protesting against sudden policy changes.

MEA Reaction

Meanwhile, reacting to the report, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal rejected the claim that hundreds of Indian students are facing 'deportation'. Jaiswal said there might be a few cases here or there, but he doesn't see any major problem.

"A large number of students have gone to Canada to study. The figure is pretty significant. But we haven't come across several students facing deportation... There may be one case here or one case there. But we don't see any major problem as far as students in Canada are concerned...," Jaiswal said.

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First Published:17 May 2024, 02:49 PM IST
HomeNewsworldHundreds of Indian students facing ’deportation’ from Canada stage protest: ’Immigration policy changed overnight’

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