Canadian immigration minister recaps visit to India

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Canada's immigration minister, Diane Finley, returned from her state visit to India after reviewing overseas operations and promoting her country's immigration program. During her trip she announced the expansion of overseas orientation services designed to help migrants get their foreign credentials assessed before making their move to Canada.

"India is a major source of immigrants to Canada, with highly qualified individuals," Finley said. "Canada wants skilled and talented professionals from India and around the world and is committed to helping them integrate quickly into the Canadian labour market."

"To this end, we have established the Foreign Credentials Referral Office and just announced the expansion of orientation sessions abroad to help potential immigrants get their credentials assessed and recognized in Canada as quickly as possible," she added.

Originally, orientation services were available in only three cities in India, China, and the Philippines. The expansion will add new offices in the Indian states of Gujarat and Punjab, as well as Beijing and Shanghai in China. These offices will work on a temporary "rotational basis". In addition, a new centrally located office will be located in New Delhi, India, to respond to increased demand in the region.

The rotational sessions are funded by Human Resources and Social Development Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Program and delivered by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges' Canadian Immigration Integration Project.

Finley also held a roundtable discussion with representatives of local educational institutions while in Mumbai. She mentioned various initiatives designed to attract migrants to Canada, including plans to introduce a "Canadian Experience Class" in 2008. This new immigration route is expected to help foreign students and skilled workers already living and working in Canada to apply for permanent residence within the country.