By Dr Raj Singh
TORONTO: Canada is a vast country with very few people. It does not have enough people
to meet the workforce demanded by its huge economy. Every year this country
receives more than 250,000 immigrants, 300,000 temporary workers and 100,000
foreign students from all over the world.
The world today is a global village. People move from country to country looking
for opportunities. Every year about 30000 Indians move to Canada and about 12000
Indian students go to Canada for studies. In this scenario, it is shocking to
see that people from India’s impoverished North East Region (NER) are not
participating in the game.
Based on the population statistics, when they participate in this migration
game, at least 1,200 immigrants and 500 students from NER should be in Canada
every year. This is not happening. If this happens, we should see at least 70
immigrants and 30 students from Manipur in Canada every year. We are not seeing
One basic reason for this failure may be the lack of awareness among the NER
people about the various corridors of migration to Canada. There are several
ways of going to Canada to start a successful life in this prosperous country
known as “the land of opportunities”. Canada has crafted 9 different categories
of immigrants to accommodate people of varied credentials viz. professionals,
semi-skilled workers, business people, refugees and family members of permanent
residents etc. One has to know what category best fits one’s own situations in
applying for visa. An immigration professional can work out the best option for
the intending immigrants, temporary workers or students.
A tradition needs to be inculcated in the minds of the NER people like the
people in Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala did for themselves that expatriates guide
and assist people back home to find ways to migrate. In this way, more and more
of their folks migrate to developed countries and as a result these states are
rich today from the remittances from their folks in foreign countries. The money
sent annually by Keralites in foreign countries to their people back home is
bigger than the annual budget of Kerala. India was the world’s biggest recipient
of remittance money to the tune of 70 billion US dollar in 2012. Where is the
money for NER people in this game?
Canada’s population is aging. There is no means to meet its work force from the
natural population increase. The country has to depend on the immigrants. There
is a forecast that Canada will still continue receiving 250000 immigrants at
least for the next 30 years. NER people should migrate to Canada and help their
people back home.
Canada’s multicultural policies, peaceful life and recession-proof economy have
made it one of the top ranking countries in the UN Human Development Index. It
is a very welcoming country with very less racial discrimination. Its elaborate
social welfare programs, world class education system and universal healthcare
system provide a very supportive environment to newcomers.
In addition to the remittances, global exposure of our people through emigration
will help in exchange of ideas and information to benefit the people in the
region. In order to cause a new direction of thinking and action among the NER
people and promote migration of NER people to Canada, some like minded people
have launched a mission to help people in this region with a plan to open
facilities like Canada Resource Centres, English Language Training Centres and
Immigration Consulting Services in NER. The first Centre is coming up at Imphal
soon. Such a move is expected to encourage people to go to other destinations
alike, such as the US, Australia, UK etc. in the days ahead. At this hour,
Canada is calling you!
(Dr. Raj Singh is the ex-President, Manipuri Association of Canada)
SEE PHOTO GALLERY: Manipur in India Day celebrations in Toronto