CIMC Minister visits India and Pakistan to discuss Canadian immigration

CIC News
Published: January 28, 2009

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister (CIMC) Jason Kenney spent some time this month in India and Pakistan to work on further strengthening Canada's relations with the two countries.  He met with important political figures and religious leaders from various communities to discuss immigration to Canada, employment in Canada for Indian and Pakistani residents, and Canadian investment in the region.

Minister Kenney visited New Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, and Mumbai from January 11 to 18.  In New Delhi, he addressed the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber and visited regional Canadian immigration visa offices as well as the office of the Canadian Immigration Integration Project.  In Mumbai, he discussed facilitating the visa process for business travelers and international students.

"The Indo-Canadian community has raised a number of important issues with me, including the need to take action against fraudulent immigration consultants, improve visa processing times, encourage immigration from Indian students to Canada, and build stronger connections between Indian and Canadian businesses," said Minister Kenney.  "I intend to work on fulfilling our government's promise to modernize the immigration system to make it more efficient and responsive to labour market needs, as well as fairer for applicants."

On his two-day visit to Pakistan, Minister Kenney met with Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.  They conversed about the Pakistani community in Canada and its important contributions to the social, economic, and political institutions of the country.  Kenney announced that Canada has decided to double its Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) assistance for Pakistan from $30 million CAD to $60 million CAD.  The investment will be used to strength local government institutions, basic health care for girls, and primary education for Pakistani children.

"Pakistani-Canadians play an important role in Canada. We are seeing more and more newcomers arriving from Pakistan," said Minister Kenney.  "With a program of this size, there are always challenges.  This visit gave me valuable insight as we continue to make improvements in our immigration system.  My trip was made more meaningful due to many consultations with members of the Pakistani-Canadian community."

Minister Kenney agreed with Prime Minister Gilani that there have been significant delays in the processing of Canadian immigration applications from Pakistan, but assured him of his resolve to improve upon this.  During his visit, Minister Kenney met with Canadian visa officers at the High Commission in Islamabad to review operations there.

Minister Kenney also noted Canada's intention of increasing the recruitment of Pakistani workers for the Canadian workforce.

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