Chandigarh, June 28 (Calcutta Tube) Australia and Canada have announced major changes in immigration rules which could favourably affect the prospects of future immigrants from India, especially Punjab, immigration experts feel.
Both countries have announced new occupation lists and Australia, which had stopped accepting new applications for the past four months, has thrown the doors open again.
Canada, which gets thousands of applications for immigration from Punjab and has even set up a consulate in Chandigarh for the last few years to cope with the rush, has come up with a new occupation in demand list.
Australia has come up with a new Skill Occupation List (SOL), which will come into effect from July 1.
Leading immigration consultancy, World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services Ltd. (WWICS), chairman and managing director B.S. Sandhu told IANS that in the past, nearly 30,000 families used to migrate to Canada from India under the skilled worker programme.
‘India has been the second largest immigrant source to Canada. But with the changed scenario, Australia will soon become the number one destination for Indians seeking migration abroad,’ said Sandhu, a retired Indian Army colonel.
Under Australia’s new SOL, all major skilled professionals and people engaged in trade are included in the list applicable for federal and state sponsored programmes.
Sandhu said that all cases filed for Canada on or before June 25 will not be affected by the changes. Immigration cases pending since 2004 will now be cleared on top priority.
‘Once the backlog is cleared, I anticipate the Canadian immigration intake would increase again, making it one percent of the Canadian population. But clearing of this backlog of 380,000 applications may take another two to three years,’ Sandhu, who runs the biggest immigration consultancy in the country, added.
People keen to emigrate to Canada will have the options to apply under British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program, study visa, skilled worker program and British Columbia/Ontario post-graduate program, besides the arranged employment option, he said.
Canada will now accept only 20,000 applications with a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation for those applying under the new occupation list. Once the cap is reached, the applicants will get a refund of their processing fees. But applicants with a job offer are not restricted by this cap, Sandhu pointed out.
Investor applications will not be entertained by the Canadian government as the federal investor immigration has been suspended awaiting new changes in the eligibility criteria.