CIC News » 2014 » April » The Story of Indian Immigration to Canada




The Story of Indian Immigration to Canada

April, 2014

The Indian community in Canada has a fascinating history spanning more than a century. Starting with just a few immigrants landing ashore in Vancouver, British Columbia, Indo-Canadians now comprise one of Canada’s largest and most well-integrated immigrant communities.

A Brief History of Indian Immigration

The first documented immigrants from the Indian subcontinent were of the Sikh denomination. They arrived in Vancouver in 1904, during a time when immigration policies were much more restrictive than today.

Despite the difficult immigration climate, a few thousand (largely Sikh) immigrants began to carve out a space for themselves in Vancouver’s economy. Many were successful entrepreneurs, serving both their own community and businesspeople throughout the city.

A few short years after arrival, Canadian authorities passed two laws that effectively ended immigration from India for a few decades. One law required new Indian immigrants to carry $200 in cash upon landing in Canada, while European immigrants needed just $25. In addition, Indian immigrants were required to arrive via a ‘continuous journey’ from the sub-continent, something that was almost impossible in the time period before air travel.

In the mid-sixties, however, Canada began to transition toward a policy of multiculturalism and did away with all discriminatory immigration policies. As a direct result, within a few short years the Indian population in Canada multiplied more than 20 times over. By this time, immigrants from all parts of India, with a wide array of languages and religions, were choosing to migrate to Canada. This upward trajectory of immigration continues today.

Indian Immigration to Canada Today

Today, approximately 30,000 Indian citizens become new permanent residents of Canada each year. Tens of thousands more come to the country to visit, work, or study.

In 2013 alone, 33,000 Indians were issued permanent resident visas. 14,000 students arrived in the country, and a full 130,000 came to Canada as visitors. Thanks to Canada’s generous family sponsorship laws, many permanent residents are able to sponsor their parents for either permanent residency or extended visitor visas, thus ensuring that families are reunited and communities across the country are strengthened.

“Our government is proud to announce that Canada continues to attract visitors, students, and business travellers from India,” said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “The impressive scale of visitor visas and study permits granted to travellers from India is an indication of the strong ties that exist between our two great nations.”

 The Indo-Canadian Community

Canadians of Indian descent can be found in every city and province in the country. The largest populations, however, are concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia. Toronto alone is home to almost 600,000 Indo-Canadians.

Indo-Canadians are the third largest non-European immigrant group in the country, after residents of Chinese and Filipino descent. It is also one of Canada’s most prominent and well-integrated communities.

Many new arrivals from India speak impeccable English and possess experience in key industries like information technology, science, and medicine. These skills, combined with the Indian community’s strong support network, means that many newcomers are often able to quickly find jobs and settle into their new homes after arriving in Canada.

Indo-Canadians are well represented in all areas of Canadian society. From politics to sports, and everywhere in between, Canadians of Indian descent have been integral to shaping the face of Canada to the world.

Some of the many prominent Canadians of South Asian descent include Naheed Nenshi, the mayor of Calgary and Herb Dhaliwal, the first Indo-Canadian cabinet minister. The novelists Shauna Singh Baldwin and Michael Ondaantje claim roots in India and Sri Lanka, respectively. There have also been many successful Indo-Canadian businessnmen, such as Deepak Chopra, the president and CEO of Canada Post.

“Canada’s success and growth as a country is intimately tied to the growth of its immigrant communities,” said Attorney David Cohen. “It has been my great pleasure to help many Indian citizens come to Canada to live and work. I know that with every new arrival, our country is becoming richer both economically and culturally.”

To find out if you are eligible for any of Canada’s over 60 immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today. 

« Next Article:

Read Previous Article »

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

John Peter April 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I’m John, Indian Nationality, I would like to ask you to know what is the IELTS band required for to immigrate to Canada. Thank you.

Nisamudheen August 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Thank you , I am Indian ,i have applied for QSW program, i will soon come there

suhas September 12, 2014 at 2:55 am

Nice article to read and feel proud to be Indian..

Anonymous December 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm

wonderful website to learn about the indians thank you

Anonymous December 17, 2014 at 1:26 am

very helpful

Anonymous January 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

very helpful for my progect

Anonymous April 27, 2015 at 5:45 pm

why did they come to canada

Sameer November 19, 2015 at 5:57 am

thanks for the highlights,learnt something new about the indo-canadian community

ketan parekh November 22, 2015 at 4:51 pm

i am in the process of migrating to canada. I am chartered accountant, financial planner and master in business finance. i am 45 years old with 22 years of experience. please share with me what package as salary i can get there

Vijay December 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Hello Guys,
I am living in India.
Received an offer letter in May 2014 from a reputed IT Company in Canada with joining date as Jan 2015 (for Canada location).
They processed my VISA and I have received VISA in my hands.
But they are continuously delaying my joining till date saying that currently they are not having work/requirement from their clients.
Please suggest on how should I now proceed in this situation..

Shouvik kumar datta January 1, 2016 at 3:26 pm

It gives encouragement and support from other resident indians in canada

noboshon January 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm

why did they come was there a war :(

shyam kumar sasidharan May 7, 2016 at 6:57 am

i am in the process of migrating to canada. I am an accountant and master in marketing. i am 29 years old with 7 years of experience. please share with me what package as salary i can get there.

Manpreet Singh Babra May 22, 2016 at 5:42 am

I just started my process to move Canada via Express entry System. I have 12 years of Experience in EOT Crane Maintenance & Fabrication of Heavy Steel Plant Components. do i have some job opportunity in Canada? If yes then how much salary i can expect? Should i earn enough to stay in canada with my wife & kids?

We welcome your comments on the news article above. However, we do not respond to specific questions in this space. If you have a question, you may Contact Us If you want to know if you qualify for Canadian immigration, you may complete our Free Assessment