NASSCOM recently spearheaded a delegation to Canada, with a view to creating greater awareness about the Indian IT-BPO industry in this market and to gain insights on the region and the business and investment opportunities it offers India’s players.
India and Canada are similar-sized economies, though the former’s population burden brings down the GDP per capita. India’s large middle-class population offers a big market to Canadian organisations. The plus point is also that no negative baggage exists between the two countries and relations between them have traditionally been very cordial.
Canada has a very large Indian diaspora that has contributed towards the growth of the country and served as an effective bridge between the nations. The Indo -Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) has also been instrumental in forging cordial ties between them. Canada additionally offers the Indian IT-BPO industry a unique value proposition. It can for instance, serve as a nearshore development centre base for India’s largest customer — the US.
On the India side, the good news is that the government has recently unveiled Reforms 2.0, that have been well-received by all foreign investors. The Indian environment is open to FDI and Canadian organisations can therefore participate. The Indian IT-BPO industry has played a very positive role in the US economy, with organisations contributing USD 15 billion in taxes over the last five years and creating more than 280,000 jobs in the country.
NASSCOM foresees the potential of replicating this success story in Canada as well.
The Indian industry also has the potential of plugging the shortages of ICT workers that Canada is expected to face by 2020. The ICTC report states that Canada will need about 110,000 ICT workers by 2016 and that immigrant workers will be needed to fulfil this shortfall. India can play an important role in helping Canada meet this need for skilled talent.
In return, Canadian organisations will gain vital entry into the Indian marketplace. They will be able to compete for large government orders, as many US organisations have done. Already, several Canadian organisations such as BlackBerry and Nortel have tasted success in the Indian market.
Going forward, NASSCOM will be encouraging Canadian organisations to leverage India as a market and development centre for their IT needs. It will help forge partnerships between innovative Canadian and Indian software and service providers for joint development and marketing in the global marketplace.
NASSCOM’s wish list for the Canadian Government includes the following:
- Greater accessibility for Indian organisations to Canada’s Government IT spend
- Liberalisation in the temporary movement of IT-BPO personnel to Canada, involving the reinstatement of the Software Pilot Project scheme or ALMO visa-type processing times offered to SME investors, as well as short-term work permits for up to six months (without LMO requirements). NASSCOM is also suggesting a ‘service visa’ for the IT-BPO industry for two years for the work profiles where skills shortages exist
- Implementation of a Social Security Agreement (SSA) with coverage for all provinces including Quebec