Canada is still processing visas for Indian nationals

Edana Robitaille
Published: September 23, 2023

A recent diplomatic dispute between Canada and India has placed a strain on the relationship between the two countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to a disagreement surrounding the killing of a prominent Canadian-Sikh leader in British Columbia. Trudeau says there is credible intelligence to confirm that agents of the Indian government were involved in the assassination. Modi refutes this.

As a result, on Thursday, September 21, BLS, India's visa processing centres in Canada, suspended services citing operational reasons. This includes centres in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

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Earlier this week in New York, when asked outright if Canada would reciprocate, Trudeau said his focus was to maintain the rule of law in Canada. He said Canada would continue to do the work it took to keep Canadians safe.

There has been no indication that Canada will stop processing visas for Indian nationals, and it is still accepting new applications as it normally does.

Processing times for visas for Indian nationals looking to come to Canada remain the same as always. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process all 80% of applications within service standards, regardless of nationality.

Canada a safe country

In addition to closing its visa processing centres in Canada, India has issued a travel advisory for Indians travelling to Canada, citing safety concerns.

Speaking with the Canadian Press, Immigration Minister Marc Miller urged Indians who are concerned about safety to remain calm.

“I think everyone knows Canada is a safe country and given the events of the last two or three days and the seriousness of the allegations that - it's important for everyone to stay calm.”

Canada consistently ranks among the safest countries in the world. According to the most recent Global Peace Index, Canada came in 11th position for 2023.

Further, a 2022 report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) found that international students consistently choose Canada for their education because of its unique reputation for safety and tolerance.

The CBIE found that in 2022, 40% of international students in Canada were Indian. This is despite a similar warning from India’s government in September 2022.

IRCC reports that there were 800,000 international students in Canada in 2022. This means approximately 320,000 Indian students were studying in Canada during the last academic year.

Indians in Canada

India is the largest source country for immigration in Canada. In 2022, there were 118,095 Indians who gained permanent residence in Canada. Of these, 59,503 Indians transitioned from permanent residents to Canadian citizens.

Canada has ambitious immigration targets in the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan. It hopes to admit more than 500,000 permanent residents each year by the end of 2025. The next Plan is expected by November 1 this year, but Minister Miller has said he doesn’t anticipate the targets will be lowered.

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