India resumes several visa services in Canada


Faced with mounting demands to enable travel from Canada, India on Wednesday announced the resumption of several types of visa services from High Commission of India (HCI) in Ottawa and other consulates in the country from October 26.
Visa services will resume for entry, business, medical and conference visa. Tourist visa and e-visa, popular categories amongst Canadians, however was not mentioned in the list issued by the High Commission. Student, journalist, transit, missionary, and Mountaineering visa were also missing from the list.
According to the HCI website, an entry Visa is granted to foreigners who are persons of Indian origin or are spouses/children of an Indian citizen or person of Indian origin.
“Further decisions, as appropriate, would be intimated based on continuing evaluation of the situation,” read a release from the High Commission.
The High Commission said the decision on the resumption of visa services was taken after Canada put some measures in place that has assured Indian diplomats of their safety and security.
“The High Commission of India in Ottawa, Canada, and its Consulates General in Toronto and Vancouver were constrained to suspend visa services temporarily because of safety and security considerations. After a considered review of the security situation that takes into account some recent Canadian measures in this regard,” release mentioned.
The release further stated that emergency situations will continue to be addressed by High Commission and Consulates as it is being done currently.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, while speaking at a seminar on Sunday, had indicated resuming visa services in Canada “very, very soon” provided India was convinced that its diplomats in Canada would come to no harm.
India last month suspended new visas for Canadians and asked Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited that Canada had credible evidence of a potential link between Indian agents and the murder of Surrey Gurdwara president Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Canadian ministers and various organizations welcomed India’s decision to resume some visa services in the country.
In a statement, the Canada-India Business Council said it was “a promising development” for trade relations.
“It is also a positive sign that both governments have expressed their support for bilateral business and investments amidst these unusual times,” wrote council head Victor Thomas.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller called India’s move “a good sign” after “an anxious time” for many Canadians. “Our feeling is that a suspension should never have happened in the first place,” he was quoted as saying by CTV News. He said the “really concerning diplomatic situation with India has created a lot of fear in a lot of communities”.
Speaking to reporters, Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan said it’s “good to see” that visa services have resumed but added it “would have been nice” if the freeze had never happened in the first place.
He said it was important that Indians and Canadians can go back and forth when it comes to events like weddings and funerals.
Marilyne Guevremont, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the department that manages the country’s diplomatic and consular relations, told CBC News that GAC is aware of the Indian government’s “decision to resume certain categories of visa processing for Canadians”.
“Canada and India share important people-to-people ties and India’s resumption of visa services will make it easier for families and businesses to travel between our countries,” Guevremont said.