In a strategic move to enhance and streamline Indian visa and immigration services for the Indo-Canadian community, India has expanded its reach in Canada with the inauguration of three new visa application centres.
BLS International, the entrusted firm handling visa outsourcing, has extended its operations from nine to twelve centres, strategically positioning new facilities in Regina, Halifax, and Mississauga.
Increased Access through New Centres
Previously, BLS International Services Canada Inc., the outsourced service provider, operated nine visa centres across Canada.
Now, with the addition of facilities in Regina (Saskatchewan), Halifax (Nova Scotia), and Mississauga (Greater Toronto Area), the total number has risen to twelve.
These new centres, operational since January 1st, accept applications for passports, visas, Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards, and attestations through appointments or walk-ins.
Meeting Growing Demand
This expansion directly addresses the rising demand for consular services. India’s High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, attributes this rise to the significant increase in the Indo-Canadian population, which has jumped from 1.8 million five years ago to approximately 2.4 million currently.
“With a considerable increase of immigrants from India into Canada, the demand for consular services is on an increase,” Verma said. “Similarly, demand for Indian visas is also displaying a healthy trend.”
Verma also noted, “Premium services offered by the outsourcing centres, including seasonal visits to Canadian cities, as per the contract’s terms and conditions, are also a part of the agreement.”
Outsourcing of Attestation Services
Apart from the opening of new visa application centres in Canada, recently, the Consulate General of India in Toronto has officially declared the outsourcing of attestation services to BLS International Services Ltd., effective January 1, 2024.
Notably, the Consulate will continue to accept applications directly for the following services:
- Life certificates
- Registration of Birth
- Registration of Death of Indian National
- NOCs for Transportation of mortal remains to India
- NRI Certificates
- NORI Certificates
Gradual Relaxation after Visa Suspension
The normalization of visa services followed a period of temporary suspension triggered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks in September 2023.
On October 26th, India resumed issuing visas in Canada for specific categories including entry, business, medical, and conference visas before ultimately reinstating e-visas for all categories on November 22nd.
The new visa centres are expected to streamline the application process and improve accessibility for Canadians of Indian origin. The outsourcing contract also allows for the potential opening of additional centres in the future, based on ongoing demand.