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Go West: Canada needs skilled Indian workers


Dec 03, 2008 at 12:56pm IST

Chandigarh: Here's good news for engineers, technicians and other skilled workers wanting to work abroad. Canada is trying to attract young talent from countries like India by relaxing norms for visas in this category, says a Canadian immigration expert.

"There is an acute shortage of skilled workers in Canada and the situation will worsen in the next 5-10 years unless the government makes an effort to attract talent from a young country like India," said Curtis Panke, director of global operations for the Ontario-based Global Placement Services.

Pointing out that the retirement age for most occupations in Canada is 55 years, he said in the next five years, more than 20 per cent of the country's engineers, doctors, professors and geologists would retire.

NO JOBCUTS: Canada has made vital changes in immigration policy and relaxed certain norms for visa.

"This huge void cannot be filled with domestic talent alone. If we do not attract the talent from outside, there will be a talent vacuum of up to 70 percent in the next 10 to 15 years," Panke told IANS.

Keeping all this in mind, he said, the Canadian government has made vital changes in its immigration policy and relaxed certain norms for a Canadian visa in the skilled worker category.

The latest fast track processing of visa applications in the federal skilled worker category ensures a Canadian visa in a shorter period of just 6-12 months, pointed out Panke.

The Canadian government has issued a list of 38 high-demand occupational categories, including health, finance, engineers, heavy-duty mechanics, industrial technicians, food service managers and other skilled trades.

Panke is in Punjab to gauge the talent pool available and to conduct seminars all over the state in collaboration with the city-based World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS), which has sent over 60,000 families and around 250,000 individuals to Canada till date.

"There are thousands of Punjabis in Canada, who are doing extremely well in their professions and contributing to the country's economy. Comparatively, we have more applicants from this region if we compare it with other states in India," stated Panke.

Asked about the impact of global recession on the Canadian economy, Panke said a majority of the organisations and companies there would be unaffected in the long run.

"There is some impact but all this is a temporary phase and will pass very soon. Moreover, there is no impact on the openings available under skilled category there and Canada is looking forward to employ skilled workers in a big way."

Talking about Canada's federal investor category for permanent residency in the country, Lt Col (retd) B.S. Sandhu, chief managing director of WWICS, said: "An investor is only needed to invest Rs.5 million in some flourishing trade in Canada and can relocate there under the Canadian Investor Program."

The applicant, under this category, only needs to have a work experience of two years and no language proficiency test like IELTS is required, he added.

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