The Complex Relationship Between Indians and Justin Trudeau

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Published on 25 Nov 2023 Time to read 10 min read Last update on 8 Jan 2024

In the intricate tapestry of international relations, one might assume that diplomatic exchanges between democratic nations remain measured and respectful. However, the recent controversy surrounding Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his comments about India has stirred a wave of indignation among Indians, disrupting the traditionally stable ties between the two nations. As Indians grapple with the repercussions of Trudeau’s assertion of “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the murder of Sikh-Canadian separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver, the lens shifts to their considerations, including the potential pathways offered by the US Visa for Indians. This unexpected clash has given rise to questions about the dynamics of the Indo-Canadian relationship, and has led many to ponder why Indians can’t seem to stand Trudeau.

As the discourse unfolds, another dimension comes into play for Indians contemplating their options with a Canadian passport. The United States emerges as a prominent consideration for those seeking new opportunities and a fresh start. This article delves into the multifaceted reasons behind the disapproval of Trudeau among Indians and explores the pathways available to them through a Canadian passport to migrate to the United States.

US Visa for Indians

Allegations and Outrage: The Trudeau-India Controversy Unveiled

Amidst the backdrop of international relations, one might anticipate a measured response when a prime minister from a longstanding NATO and G7 member makes grave allegations about another sovereign nation. However, the recent controversy involving Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his comments regarding India has defied this expectation, triggering a collective sense of outrage among Indians. Trudeau’s assertion of “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the murder of Sikh-Canadian separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver has become a contentious focal point.


Diplomatic Fallout and Media Blitz: India’s Reaction to Trudeau’s Claims

The repercussions of Trudeau’s statement have reverberated through diplomatic channels, with the Indian government dismissing the allegations as “absurd and motivated.” This led to a tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats and a reduction in embassy size. The Indian media, meanwhile, launched a fervent campaign against Trudeau, reflecting a widespread sentiment that he is not a trusted messenger. Many Indians perceive Trudeau as pandering to identity politics and prioritizing political survival over national interests, particularly in light of his government’s dependence on the leftist New Democratic Party, led by Sikh politician Jagmeet Singh, who is seen as sympathetic to Sikh radicalism.

As this diplomatic drama unfolds, the Canadian government’s ability to substantiate its claims will undoubtedly shape perceptions, potentially influencing India’s standing in the West and Trudeau’s credibility on the global stage.

Trudeau’s Political Persona

Critics argue that many Indians view Justin Trudeau as an “opportunistic, lightweight, preachy hand-wringer of a politician,” as described by Tunku Varadarajan. This sentiment is rooted in the perception that Trudeau engages in identity politics for votes and prioritizes personal political survival over the broader interests of Canada.

Sikh Influence and Political Dependencies

A significant number of Indians believe that Trudeau is beholden to Canada’s sizable and politically influential Sikh community, comprising 2.1% of the population. With their geographic concentration and close-knit community ties, Sikhs wield disproportionate political clout, crucial for Trudeau’s minority government, which relies on support from the leftist New Democratic Party led by Jagmeet Singh—a Sikh politician perceived sympathetically to Sikh radicalism and barred from entering India since 2013.

Khalistan Legacy: Sensitivities in Canadian Politics

The complexities of Canadian domestic politics resonate with the Indian public due to memories of a violent secessionist movement in the 1980s and 1990s, aiming to establish a separate Sikh homeland called Khalistan. While the majority of Canadian Sikhs disassociate from the movement, critics argue that Trudeau has dismissed Indian security concerns about radical Sikhs, contrasting him with counterparts in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.

Security Concerns and Extradition Debate

Indians argue that Canada should have extradited Nijjar to India, where he faced accusations of terrorism and involvement in serious crimes, including murder and a theater bombing (which he denied). Blaming Trudeau for fostering an environment where Sikh extremists openly advocate for the murder of Indian diplomats, celebrate the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, and encourage Canadian Hindus to leave the country, the sentiment prevails that Trudeau has not adequately addressed security concerns.

Unfolding Fallout and Diplomatic Uncertainties

As the fallout unfolds, the trajectory of U.S.-India relations remains uncertain, hinging on the substantiation of Trudeau’s allegations. However, a consensus among Indians suggests that until Trudeau’s tenure persists, improvement in India’s ties with Canada is unlikely.

The Vibrant Presence of the Indian Community in Canada

Canada is home to nearly 1.4 million people of Indian ethnic or cultural origin, constituting about 3.7% of the country’s total population, as reported by the 2021 census. Among this vibrant community, more than 770,000 individuals identify with Sikhism, making up approximately 2% of Canada’s diverse population. Recognizing the cultural richness and contributions of this community, the Canadian government designated April as Sikh Heritage Month in 2019.

In contrast, India, the world’s most populous nation with 1.425 billion people as of April, has Sikhs as the majority in the northern state of Punjab, accounting for only about 1.7% of the country’s total population. This demographic landscape underscores the significance of the Indian diaspora in Canada and the cultural diversity it brings to the nation’s social fabric.

Which US Visas for Indians are Available with a Canadian Passport?

EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)

Indian passport holders with a Canadian passport can explore the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) as a potential avenue for U.S. immigration. This visa category is designed for individuals with exceptional abilities in their respective fields, including professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional expertise. The NIW allows individuals to self-petition, bypassing the need for employer sponsorship, provided they can demonstrate their work is of national interest to the United States. This pathway offers a degree of flexibility and autonomy for qualified Indian professionals seeking to contribute their skills to the U.S. workforce.

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E-2 Investor Visa

For Indian entrepreneurs or investors eyeing business opportunities in the United States, the E-2 Investor Visa emerges as a compelling choice. With a Canadian passport, Indians can invest a recommended minimum of $100,000 in a U.S. enterprise, paving the way to live and work in the country. The E-2 visa is especially appealing for those eager to actively manage and cultivate their business ventures, contributing to economic growth and job creation in the U.S.

The E-2 visa is especially appealing for those eager to actively manage and cultivate their business ventures, contributing to economic growth and job creation in the U.S. It’s crucial to note that in addition to the investment amount, applicants must meet the marginality requirement. This stipulation ensures that the investment is not merely a means for personal sustenance but has the potential to generate substantial income, benefitting the investor and their family while also making a significant economic contribution to the United States.


EB-5 Visa

Similarly, Canadian investors seeking permanent residency in the United States can explore the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 visa requires eligible investors to invest funds into a burgeoning commercial venture, excluding personal residences, with a focus on job creation. The cornerstone of the program is the creation of a minimum of ten full-time positions for eligible employees. Investments can be made in partnerships, corporations, and other profit-driven ventures. For businesses operating outside a regional center, job creation must be direct, either by the enterprise or its wholly owned subsidiaries. However, those within a regional center can fulfill up to 90% of job creation through indirect employment opportunities.

Distressed businesses allow investors to emphasize job preservation, ensuring that the existing workforce remains stable for at least two years post-investment. Capital, including cash and tangible assets under the investor’s control, plays a crucial role, with all assets evaluated at fair-market value in U.S. dollars. Illegitimately obtained assets are excluded, while gifts and loans to the investor became recognized as capital as of May 14, 2022, subject to specific conditions.

The EB-5 visa serves as a pathway for Canadian investors to become U.S. permanent residents by contributing significant capital to American enterprises, and recent legislative changes under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 have extended the program’s viability until September 30, 2027.

H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa

Indian professionals with specialized skills or expertise may consider the H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa. This visa category allows employers in the U.S. to sponsor foreign workers for roles requiring specialized knowledge, often in fields such as technology, science, engineering, and mathematics. With a Canadian passport, Indian professionals can seek employment in the U.S. under the H-1B visa, contributing their skills to American companies in need of specialized talent.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

For Indian individuals with extraordinary talents or achievements in their fields, the O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa is a prestigious option. This visa is designed for those who have demonstrated exceptional skills, recognition, or accomplishments in areas such as arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics. With a Canadian passport, Indians can showcase their extraordinary abilities and secure the opportunity to work in the United States, contributing their exceptional talents to the American landscape.


Conclusion

As the repercussions of Trudeau’s controversial comments continue to unfold, an unexpected consequence has emerged – an increased consideration among Indians for alternative opportunities, particularly in the United States. The stable ties between India and Canada have been disrupted, prompting many Indians to reassess their options, and the U.S. is emerging as an attractive destination for those seeking new beginnings.

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Amidst these geopolitical shifts, we ensure a seamless transition to new opportunities, ultimately contributing to the vibrant tapestry of the American dream.

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Mentioned visas

EB2-NIW (green card)

An employment-based visa intended for those who either have an advanced degrees or exceptional ability

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E2 Visa

An employment-based visa intended for those who either have an advanced degrees or exceptional ability

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