In recent times, the provision of Indian visa services in Canada has been met with challenges and hurdles. The diplomatic tensions between India and Canada have led to the suspension of various visa categories.
This article delves into the current status of Indian visa services in Canada and the reasons behind the suspension of certain visa categories.
Indian visa services in Canada were suspended on September 21 due to a diplomatic dispute.
The friction emerged when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations against “Indian agents” being involved in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. These accusations were vehemently denied by the Indian authorities, setting the stage for a tense situation.
Partial Resumption of Visa Services
Recently, India resumed visa services in Canada for persons of Indian origin (PIOs), as well as for business and medical conferences. This marks a step towards the normalization of diplomatic relations. However, it’s important to note that not all visa categories have been reinstated.
As per a press release issued by the Indian Embassy in Canada, visa services for the following categories has been resumed with effect from October 26, 2023;
- Entry Visa
- Business Visa
- Medical Visa
- Conference Visa
Major Categories with Suspended Services
Despite, resumption of visa services for a few cateoories, as of the latest Ottawa travel advisory, there are as many as nine categories of Indian visas that remain suspended in Canada. These categories include:
1. Tourist Visas: Tourist visas, allowing Canadians to visit India for leisure and tourism, remain suspended due to diplomatic tensions.
2. Employment Visas: These visas, for Canadians seeking employment in India, are currently unavailable, impacting those looking for work opportunities.
3. Student Visas: Student visas, vital for Canadian students pursuing education in India, are temporarily unavailable, affecting educational plans.
4. Film-Related Visas: These visas for Canadians in the film industry wanting to work on Indian projects have been put on hold.
5. Missionary Visas: Missionary visas, enabling religious workers from Canada to serve in India, are currently not being issued.
6. Journalist Visas: Journalist visas, crucial for Canadian journalists reporting from India, are suspended during the diplomatic dispute.
The decision to withhold the resumption of visa services for these categories is the result of a “considered review of the security situation” and takes into account recent Canadian measures.
It’s important to keep in mind that the situation remains dynamic, and the status of these visa categories can change at any time.
India’s High Commissioner in Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma, stated that further decisions regarding these categories would be based on a continuous evaluation of the situation.
Sanjay Kumar Verma also expressed concerns about the safety and functioning of Indian diplomats in consular offices.
While Canada has offered security measures to key Indian diplomats, this does not necessarily indicate an improved situation. It merely signifies that, despite threats, these diplomats have limited physical movement.
The status of Indian visa services in Canada reflects the complex nature of international diplomacy. The partial resumption of services for certain categories is a positive step, but the challenges remain, and the situation is subject to change. As India and Canada continue their diplomatic discussions, it is crucial to stay updated on the evolving landscape of visa services in Canada for Indians.