October 08, 2023

Indo-Canadian Associations Urge Reinstating of Visa Services

THE Association of Progressive and Democratic Organizations of British Columbia and the Indo-Canadian Association (Canada) have given a memorandum to the minister of external affairs, government of India, through the consul general, Indian consulate, Vancouver, Canada, on September 28, urging urgent restoration of visa services for Canadian nationals. The memorandum noted that the recent unfortunate developments have come as a big jolt to the evolving diplomatic ties between India and Canada, particularly during this critical period of global economic recession.

The memorandum says, “As members of the Indo-Canadian community, we are deeply concerned about the current turn of events. Firstly, we would like to reiterate our unwavering solidarity against all forms of terrorism. The Government of India has decided to temporarily suspend visa services exclusively for Canadian nationals. However, this decision has not only left over a million Canadian nationals of Indian descent in a state of uncertainty but also numerous Indian families. Over the past decade, there has been a substantial 260 per cent increase in the annual number of permanent immigrants from India to Canada. Consequently, this decision has also affected thousands of Indian nationals who are currently in the process of obtaining Canadian citizenship.

“Furthermore, there are millions of temporary residents whose children hold Canadian nationality and have been directly impacted by this decision. Many families had already made plans for upcoming vacations in December, and this sudden development has resulted in significant economic, social, and emotional consequences.

“We are aware of numerous cases where Indian nationals, whose children hold Canadian nationality, are currently in India with visas that are about to expire. In such circumstances, they are unable to renew their child's visa and may consequently face legal repercussions for exceeding the permitted duration of stay.

“In the unfortunate event of an unforeseen situation in India, many individuals would face immense emotional distress due to their inability to travel.

“We acknowledge the sensitivity behind the imposition of this ban, however, the majority of individuals of Indian descent have no affiliation with secessionist movements nor do they endorse any form of terrorism. Nevertheless, this sweeping ban unjustly penalises individuals who have already endured significant hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years.

“We firmly believe that this hastily made decision must be promptly reversed. We urge the Government of India to engage in peaceful dialogue and deliberation with the Canadian government to resolve this issue, and subsequently reinstate visa services without delay.”