Canada has set an ambitious target of welcoming 500,000 new permanent residents annually by 2025. Among the countries contributing significantly to this number is India, which boasts one of the largest Indian diasporas worldwide. The growing trend of Indians gaining permanent residency in Canada can be attributed to factors such as high English proficiency, education levels, and work experience. Statistics from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada reveal a remarkable increase in the number of Indians becoming permanent residents in Canada, soaring from 32,828 in 2013 to 118,095 in 2022—a staggering 260% rise.

However, immigrating to Canada is a process that can take months, or even years, so it is essential to understand the available options and determine the most suitable pathway for successful immigration. This article aims to outline some of the popular skilled worker options for Indian immigrants.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

One viable option for overseas Indian candidates is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which allows individuals with work experience to apply for permanent residence, even without any prior connection to Canada or a job offer. The FSWP targets skilled workers who can utilize their foreign work experience, education, language skills, and other human capital factors to thrive in Canada. To qualify, applicants must meet specific criteria, including at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience within the past 10 years in a skilled occupation classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3. They must also demonstrate a validated language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French across all language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), as well as possess a Canadian educational credential or a foreign credential validated through an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report. FSWP applicants need to score a minimum of 67 points on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) six-factor selection criteria, and demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves and their families upon settling in Canada. The FSWP is part of the Canadian government’s Express Entry application system, where candidates upload their profiles on the IRCC website to receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on factors such as age, education, work experience, language skills, and more. The highest-scoring candidates receive Invitations to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Recently, IRCC introduced category-based selection for Express Entry candidates, targeting individuals with work experience in specific areas such as healthcare, STEM professions, trades (carpenters, plumbers, contractors), transport, agriculture and agri-food, and those with strong French language proficiency. These targeted draws are expected to commence in the upcoming summer.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Another prominent immigration option for Indian candidates is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The PNP allows provinces and territories (except for Quebec and Nunavut) to design immigration pathways tailored to their economic, labor market, and demographic needs. Each province and territory has its own eligibility criteria that candidates must meet. Express Entry candidates may also receive invitations to apply for provincial nomination, which adds an additional 600 CRS points, significantly boosting their chances of receiving an ITA for permanent residence.

Study in Canada

Studying in Canada presents yet another attractive avenue for Indian students. Canada is highly regarded as a destination for international students due to its quality education, work opportunities during and after studies, and affordability. In 2022, India topped the list of source countries for international students already studying in Canada, with a total of 319,130 Indian students. A significant advantage of studying in Canada is the possibility of extending one’s stay and transitioning to permanent residence after completing post-secondary education. By obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), international students can gain Canadian