Study permits to Indian students dropped after diplomatic row: Canada minister

Diplomatic tensions following the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar have led to an 86 per cent drop in study permits issued to Indian students in Canada, a Canadian minister has said.
Study permits to Indian students dropped after diplomatic row: Canada minister
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

The year 2023 saw a sharp decline in the number of study permits Canada issued to Indian students, due to the diplomatic row between the two countries, a top Canadian official told news agency Reuters. In an interview, the official also said he believed the number of study permits for Indians is unlikely to rebound soon.

This was done after India ejected Canadian diplomats who would process the permits and fewer Indian students applied due to a diplomatic dispute over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, he said.

Diplomatic tensions between India and Canada erupted after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June said there was evidence connecting Indian government agents to the murder of Nijjar in British Columbia.

Speaking to Reuters, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said, "Our relationship with India has really halved our ability to process a lot of applications from India."

"I can't tell you about how the diplomatic relationship would evolve, particularly if the police were to lay charges. It's not something that I see any light at the end of the tunnel on," Miller said.

"Right now we have a challenge with the sheer volume" of students coming in, Miller said. "It's just gotten out of control and needs to be reduced - I would say - significantly over a short period of time."

Miller also said the government would introduce other measures to lower the volume of international students during the first half of this year, including a possible cap.

The government intends to address "a very generous" program for postgraduate work permits and to crack down on "fly-by-night" universities, called designated learning institutes, he said.

In October, Canada was forced to pull 41 diplomats, or two-thirds of its staff, out of India on orders from New Delhi.

In addition, the dispute prompted Indian students to seek to study in other countries, Reuters reported.

Such factors led to an 86 per cent drop in study permits issued to Indians in the fourth quarter of last year from the previous quarter, to 14,910 from 108,940, according to official data that had not been previously reported.

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Study permits to Indian students dropped after diplomatic row: Canada minister

Indians have formed the largest group of international students in Canada in recent years, with more than 41 per cent - or 225,835 - of all permits going to them in 2022.

Source: India Today

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