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Canada - So Near, Yet So Far

Venkat Ramana
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Venkat Ramana
THE LAND OF THE MAPLE LEAF HAS ALWAYS BEEN a lure to the Indian immigrant diaspora. The first move is always to come to the U.S. But if these doors are closed, Canada doesn’t seem too bad a destination. You are still in America, yet you are not in America. One is always caught in a complex relationship with this country, which, at one and the same time, seems so near and, yet, so far away. But now, Canada seems to be holding out olive branches to the large number of speciality workers on the H1-B visa in the U.S. With companies closing shop everyday, a greater number of these visa holders are rendered jobless and legally “out-of-status.” “The realization comes a bit late in the day, but hits as hard,” say Canadian immigration lawyers Janet Bomza and Katrina Knize. “If they were perspicacious enough, this wouldn’t have happened, since they would have had a fall-back of Canadian residency.”

Dream Country
Leading Canadian immigration facilitators, Abrams and Krochak, underline the benefits of working and living in Canada. “While the Canadian dollar is not as strong as the U.S. dollar, it certainly is more stable,” says Abrams. “Canada has been consistently outperforming expectations. While the economy, to some extent, reflects world downturns, the Canadian economy has managed to ride these inflections much better than most leading economies. Companies are still hiring, and the job market, if not booming, is certainly going strong.”

Canada offers free medical coverage for an immigrant family, and free schooling until high school. Knize, Abrams, and Bomza also emphasize the low costs of university education, which they claim, is far lower than those in the U.S. Adding to this string of advantages are strong social pluses, like low cost of living, good housing, safe neighborhoods, very low crime rates, and a very immigrant-tolerant society. Mild summers, glorious winters, and pristine landscapes contribute to the making of a dream country. The Canadian government is also pushing the boundaries of occupied territories which, the lawyers feel, will only increase employment opportunities. “As the need for infrastructure facilities in these new areas increase, demand for skilled technologists, entrepreneurs, and service providers will increase. This is, perhaps, the only country that is growing in these times,” remarks Knize.

Raising The Bar

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