Jalandhar, September 25
With Punjabis constituting 60 per cent of the Indians going to Canada on student visa, a prominent NRI businessman and philanthropist who hails from Patara village in Jalandhar has a word of advice: Do not send students to Canada till you can spare Rs 50 lakh as expenses for them for the next five years, besides paying the college fee and Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) fee for the first year.
The rentals have gone up to 1,600 Canadian dollars a month. There are not as many jobs available as the number of students. — Sukhi Bath, resident of Surrey
Sukhi Bath, a resident of Surrey in British Columbia, says he has been closely monitoring the Punjabi students in Canada for long as he has been living there for the last 50 years. He said the students who got sufficient funds for their maintenance for the first five years many a time fell into the trap of earning money through illegal means.
“The rents have gone up to 1,600 Canadian dollars a month. Five to six students are being adjusted in one room because of space crunch. There are not as many jobs available as the number of students. The employers too are exploiting them, paying them less for the hours put in. The students are getting stressed, with some taking to drugs and even losing their lives. It is so painful to see such a scenario,” said Bath, who is currently in India. Running an automobile business in Canada, Bath said he knew some of these students as he was regularly meeting them through his NGO Punjab Bhawan, headquartered at Surrey.
“I have been running this NGO without any fund-raiser and regularly hold conferences for Punjabi students where they share their problems and grievances, and we try to address them. We help them contact those providing rental accommodation, jobs, and also help them apply for driving licences and float their resumes,” he said.
Bath said even as Rs 68,000 crore was being pumped out annually from Punjab to Canada, the Canadian government had not set up any toll-free helpline for these students.
“We have been raising this demand with the government there. The next conference of our NGO is scheduled for October 8-9 at Surrey, so I will be heading back after three days,” he said.
He said he had now also taken up the new task of guiding Punjabi students, who aspire to go to Canada. He lists out the areas of concern. “If you can hold on, try to postpone your plans for Canada. It is not the right time to go as there is an acute shortage of space and jobs. It is not advisable to go right after school as the kids are not groomed here to be independent at the age of 17. Children must first learn to be independent in India. They also need to start cooking on their own. If possible, they must take a short course or classes for such grooming.”
He refused to delve into the India-Canada tussle over Nijjar’s killing.
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