November 13, 2023

Canada: Still Processing Visas for Indian Nationals!

A recent diplomatic dispute between Canada and India has shocked the international community, casting a shadow on the otherwise robust and friendly relations between these two nations. At the heart of the dispute lies an issue involving the assassination of a prominent Canadian-Sikh leader in British Columbia. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have found themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding the alleged involvement of Indian government agents in this tragic incident. This dispute has resulted in several repercussions, including the suspension of India's visa processing centers in Canada, a travel advisory for Indians visiting Canada, and concerns about the future of immigration between these two countries. In this article, we will dive into the details of this diplomatic standoff and its potential impact on immigration from India to Canada.


Visa Processing Centres Suspended: A Diplomatic Standoff

The tension escalated on Thursday, September 21, when India's visa processing centers in Canada, including those in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver, suspended services, citing operational reasons. This move is a direct response to the disagreement between the two leaders, reflecting the severity of the diplomatic strain.

In response to queries about potential reciprocal measures, Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized Canada's commitment to upholding the rule of law. Despite the suspension of visa services by India, Canada has not indicated any plans to halt the processing of visas for Indian nationals. As it stands, the usual application procedures and processing times for Indian nationals seeking entry into Canada remain unchanged.

Safety Concerns and Travel Advisory

India has issued a travel advisory for its citizens traveling to Canada, expressing safety concerns in the wake of the recent events. In response, Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller urged calm, highlighting Canada's status as a safe country. He emphasized that, despite the diplomatic tensions, Canada consistently ranks among the safest nations globally.

This sentiment is supported by various global indicators. According to the 2023 Global Peace Index, Canada secured the 11th position, attesting to its overall peaceful environment. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) further reinforced Canada's reputation for safety and tolerance in a 2022 report, revealing that international students, including a significant number of Indians, choose Canada for its safety.


Impact on International Students

One significant aspect of the Canada-India relationship affected by this dispute is the influx of Indian international students into Canada. A 2022 report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) highlighted that international students consistently choose Canada for their education due to its unique reputation for safety and tolerance. Surprisingly, despite a similar warning from India's government in September 2022, 40% of international students in Canada were Indian during that year.

Furthermore, IRCC reports that there were a staggering 800,000 international students in Canada in 2022. This statistic translates to approximately 320,000 Indian students who were pursuing their education in Canada during the last academic year. This indicates the significant role that Indian students play in Canada's education sector, contributing not only to the diversity of campuses but also to the economic growth of the country.


India: A Key Player in Canadian Immigration

India holds an important role as the largest source country for immigration to Canada. In 2022 alone, 118,095 Indians secured permanent residence in Canada, with nearly half transitioning to Canadian citizenship. The upcoming Immigration Levels Plan, expected by November 1, is anticipated to maintain or potentially increase these immigration targets, showcasing the enduring importance of Indian immigrants to Canada's growth and diversity.


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In conclusion, the current diplomatic dispute between Canada and India has not only strained political relations but also raised concerns about the potential impact on immigration and international students. However, Canada's steadfast commitment to the rule of law, safety, and tolerance provides assurance to current and prospective Indian immigrants and students. As the nations navigate through these diplomatic challenges, the enduring ties forged through immigration and education continue to play a crucial role in shaping the future of Canada-India relations.