More Than Women, Punjab’s Men Move To Canada On Spouse Visas, Half Working As Labourers

These aspirations and struggles shape the global migration saga in rural Punjab.

by Mallika Khurana
More Than Women, Punjab’s Men Move To Canada On Spouse Visas, Half Working As Labourers

In the global saga of dreams and migrations, a recent study conducted by Ludhiana-based Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has illuminated the fascinating and, at times, challenging journey of Punjabi migrants seeking greener pastures abroad. The research, spanning over three decades from 1990 to 2022, unveils a tapestry of aspirations, struggles, and the evolving dynamics of overseas migration. It also revealed that more men move to Canada on spouse visas than women. Read on to learn more.

PAU Study Unveils Startling Trends In Punjab’s Visa Landscape

canada visa
Photo Credits: Canva

According to the findings of “A Study on Overseas Migration from Rural Punjab: Trends, Causes and Consequences,” the spotlight shines on the trials faced by more than half of the migrants from Punjab who moved to foreign shores via spouse visas. Astonishingly, a meagre 6% have managed to secure employment in the services sector. The majority find themselves employed as labourers in various capacities.

According to the Indian Express, the study’s lens extends to the academic endeavours of those pursuing study visas. It notes that over 40% attempted the English proficiency test (IELTS) at least twice or more to meet the required band. Intriguingly, some respondents disclosed an unsettling practice of paying ₹2 lakh to illegal agents. In return, they obtained a minimal score of 6 in IELTS.

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Punjab Men Dominate Canada-Bound Spouse Visas

spouse visa
Photo Credits: Canva

In a gender-wise analysis, the study reveals a shift in migration patterns, with males outnumbering females on spouse visas. Professor Shalini Sharma from the Department of Economics at PAU notes a trend change, attributing it to a novel phenomenon dubbed ‘contract marriage’. According to the Indian Express, women, armed with commendable IELTS scores for study visas, call their spouses on spousal open work visas upon reaching foreign countries.

As the global map of aspirations unfolds, Canada emerges as the most sought-after destination for nearly half of the migrants, followed by Dubai and Australia. However, the study reveals that over half of spouse visa migrants now engage in labour-intensive roles. They are mostly employed in hotels, gas stations, washing stations, etc. Homemakers constitute 32.91%, while only a modest 5% find themselves in entrepreneurial pursuits such as real estate or boutique ownership.

IELTS centres have emerged as a symbol of aspiration in the migration narrative, sprouting up all over rural Punjab. According to the Indian Express reports, the data analysis notes the financial investments made by migrants. Reportedly, more than half achieved the required IELTS band in the first attempt, spending an average of ₹42,845. Others, determined to overcome language barriers, made two attempts. They shelled out an average of ₹70,257, while a committed 4.87% underwent the test three times, spending a substantial ₹1,42,941.

This study portrays the dreams and challenges of those seeking a new horizon.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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