Hundreds of Indian students in Canada face deportation, protest against new rule

In Prince Edward Island, a province in Canada, hundreds of Indian students are facing deportation after it changed its provincial immigration rules. Around 300 students are protesting and have threatened to go on a hunger strike if the Canadian province doesn't review its latest immigration policy.
Hundreds of Indian students in Canada face deportation, protest against new rule
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Hundreds of Indian students in Prince Edward Island, Canada, are facing deportation due to a sudden change in provincial immigration rules. They are protesting and have threatened to go on a hunger strike if the recent changes to the immigration policy aren't reviewed.

Prince Edward Island, a Canadian province, has made changes to its Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP) immigration rules to reduce the number of immigrants due to the strain on its healthcare and housing infrastructure.

The protesting Indians accuse the provincial Canadian government of suddenly changing immigration rules and refusing them work permits. According to the report, these students, despite having graduated, are now facing deportation.

The Indian protestors are demanding an extension of work permits and a review of the recent changes to immigration policies.

"We have three demands that we are focusing on," said Rupinder Pal Singh, a leader of the protest, who came to Canada from India in 2023.

"First, we demand to be grandfathered into the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) system because we were already here, working on valid work permits, before the new rules were implemented. It is only fair that those who were present before the changes be allowed to continue under the old system," Singh said.

"Secondly, we call for fair PNP draws without a point system. Recently, sales and services, food sectors, and even truckers have been excluded from the PNP draws, despite our hard work and contributions. We deserve the same opportunities as other sectors, and the current point system, which requires 65 points, is nearly impossible for those under 25 to achieve," he said.

"Lastly, we demand an extension of our work permits. Due to the government's changes and economic issues, our work permits were effectively wasted, causing many of us to lose our jobs. It is only fair that our work permits be renewed to compensate for the lost time and opportunities," Singh added.

The protest by immigrant students began on May 9 with about 25 people and has since grown to over 300.

The Indian protestors are upset about the PEI government’s announcement that it would cut the number of people from other countries that it nominates for permanent residency in Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

The decision to cut the number of people came in February. The number of nominees will fall by 25% in 2024, partly due to pressure on PEI's healthcare system and housing market.

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.

The province's new population strategy specified that of the spots that remained, people who work in specific occupations, including health care and construction, would be given priority.

That means 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, reported CBC News.

Rupinder Pal Singh, the leader of the protests in Canada, stated that the group was prepared to take drastic measures unless the province extended work permits for immigrants who eere already working and seeking permanent residency.

Singh, who moved to Canada from India in 2023, accused the PEI government of providing false information and exploiting immigrants. He warned that if the province fails to meet their demands, the protest would escalate to a hunger strike.

The PEI government has stated that these immigration changes are temporary but has not provided a specific timeline for when they will be reversed, reported CBC.

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Hundreds of Indian students in Canada face deportation, protest against new rule

The Indian students protesting on Canada's streets have shared the video on X. In that video, the students can be seen with placards reading "Unfair Rules No Discrimination", "We want to live in PEI but you want us to leave", "We need to be grandfathered" and "Need Work Permit Extension".

Source: India Today

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