Migration, Arrival, and Settlement

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Nepalis/

Nepalis are recent immigrants in Canada and their numbers are relatively small. According to the 1991 report on immigration and citizenship, only 125 people indicated Nepal as their country of birth. There may be, however, as many as 500 Nepalis residing in Canada, since, aside from immigrants from Nepal itself, there are also Nepali-speaking people from neighbouring India, Burma, Sikkim, and Bhutan as well as Nepalis who lived in other countries (Fiji, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States) before immigrating to Canada.

The majority of Nepalis in Canada migrated in pursuit of better economic opportunities and professional fulfilment. Some who had experienced discrimination in the countries they left were also attracted by the possibility of enjoying political and religious freedom in Canada. A small number of Nepalis arrived during the 1960s and early 1970s. From the late 1970s to the present there has been a relative increase in their number.

Some Nepalis arrived in Canada as independent professionals and members of various occupational groups, while others were able to enter through family affiliations and personal contacts. A small group of Nepalis came through the Gurkha Welfare Appeal (Canada), which was established by Canadian military veterans after World War II. Dedicated to helping Commonwealth Gurkha war veterans, this organization has provided valuable financial, medical, and educational help to Gurkha ex-servicemen and their families. Nepalis have settled primarily in the urban centres of Canada. Almost half of them are located in Ontario, and the second-largest settlement is in British Columbia. Only a handful are spread throughout the rest of Canada.