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Indian students in Canada feel like ‘discarded cheap labour’

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Toronto: Justin Trudeau’s Canada, which touted inclusivity and a place for all, seems to have no space for Indians. Some Indian students in Canada alleged that they were used as a “cheap source of labour” by the government and discarded as soon as they were no longer needed.
It all started last year, when the Justin Trudeau government, hopeful of recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic-triggered shutdowns allowed about 50,000 foreign students to stay for at least 18 months after graduation to seek employment.

As per the government, these graduates were given an extended period to fill roles of pressing needs in the key sector to help Canada recover from the losses in the pandemic and facilitate the reopening of the economy.

In order to do so, the Canadian government decided to give these students the work experience needed to permanent immigration. However, one and a half years down the lane and many of these permanent-resident hopefuls were left without status to work or remain in the country, reported Bloomberg.

“I’m sitting at home and living off of my savings and not knowing how long I’d have to do that. I regret choosing Canada as a country to immigrate to, study and live in. Canada should appreciate foreign students more, not just use them as a form of cheap labour,” ” Daniel D’Souza, an accountant and former student at Seneca College near Toronto told Bloomberg.

“When they needed us, they exploited us. But when we need their help or support, nobody shows up. We pay fees and taxes and aren’t getting anything in return. You don’t recognize that we’re the people who helped you solve the labour shortage,” Anshdeep Bindra, a former consultant at Ernst and Young in Toronto was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

These students who once helped the country’s economy get back on its feet in the hope of better immigration rankings and other benefits are now left bereft and are struggling to make ends meet. Their future is full of uncertainty and even if their applications are eventually successful, they have to live off months without a job, health or security.

Canadian govt’s response

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser’s department in a statement acknowledged the cultural and social benefits foreign students bring to the table and said it is considering ways to help these students get settled in Canada on a permanent basis.

Now, the Trudeau government, which is planning to welcome a record number of new immigrants over the next three years to offset an ageing workforce, is scheduled to announce updated targets Tuesday morning in Toronto.

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