Tuesday, November 15, 2011


India and Canada are said to be close to a trade deal. If that is correct, Canada should ensure that the integrity of its legal safeguards in immigration is enforced, given the high level of corruption in India. It may be a good time to secure India's cooperation to crack down on immigration scams that plague the Indian marketplace.

New deal eases free trade hurdles, work restrictions for India, Canada News National Post

New deal eases free trade hurdles, work restrictions for India, Canada

Postmedia News Nov 14, 2011 – 8:24 PM ET

By Lee Berthiaume

OTTAWA — Canada and India are on the verge of signing an agreement that would make it easier and more financially viable for thousands of Indian professionals to work here, and vice versa.

The agreement also eliminates a significant hurdle to free trade talks between the two countries, which the Conservative government has pledged to complete by 2013.

The Agreement on Social Security has been in negotiations since 2009 and has been considered a key ask for the Indian side as Canada tries to cozy up with the emerging economic power.

Cabinet last month gave Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird permission to sign the agreement on behalf of the government, according to an order-in-council published on Oct. 27.

Under the agreement, Indians working in Canada on temporary visas and making social security and pension contributions back to India would be exempt from making similar contributions here.

The same will be true for Canadians working in India, who will only pay the Canadian government.

An official with Citizenship and Immigration Canada said there were more than 14,000 Indians working in Canada at the end of 2010.

Indian deputy high commissioner to Canada Narinder Chauhan said she expects that number to increase once the social security agreement is signed.

“Lots of Indian professionals are coming into Canada,” she said, “and this agreement actually facilitates the movement of those professionals.”

The same will be true of Canadians working in India, she added.

“So we are just basically looking at an opportune moment to sign it,” she said.

Puneet Kohli, vice-president of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, said the agreement is very important for Indian companies who want to expand into Canada, and its successful conclusion would represent a big step in the Conservative government’s effort to bring the two countries closer together economically.

“It’s one of those important steps toward achieving that ultimate goal, which is a formal free trade agreement,” he said.

Canada and India recently completed a third round of free trade talks, with a fourth round set to be held in Delhi next month.

With $6.6 billion invested in Canada, Indian businesses have established a huge presence here in a variety of sectors, and Kohli said the social security agreement will likely lead to more Indian money pouring into the country.

But while Kohli acknowledged the agreement will result in more Indians coming to work in Canada, he dismissed suggestions they do so at the expense of Canadian job-seekers because of the associated influx of foreign investment.

“Theoretically I can see that concern,” he said. “But usually when they set up Canadian branches, it always means employment for Canadians. It’s an expansion into our economy. And I think that’s the most relevant factor to keep in mind.”

The Canadian economy lost 54,000 jobs in October, the largest single-month loss since February 2009. That pushed the unemployment rate up from 7.1 per cent to 7.3 per cent.

Postmedia News

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