23 Sept 2023

India Canada Political Row: What Impact Suspension Of Visa Service Will Have; What Is Concern Of Indians In Canada?

New Delhi: The Indian Embassy in Canada has currently suspended visa services for Canada amid estranged diplomatic ties.

Regarding this, there is concern among Indians living in Canada and their family members  living in India. There will be no problem for those people who have already been issued visa. Experts say suspension of visa should be seen as a way to express India's displeasure and they hope that the situation of confrontation will not last long. 

The Indian Embassy in Canada issues many types of visas. Entry visa is given to people of Indian origin. People of Indian origin can travel between Canada and India once on this visa. Tourist visa is given to Canadians who want to visit India. Such people can get this visa for many years.

Besides India issues many other categories of visas including business visa, tourist visa, employment visa, medical visa, film visa, student visa, conference visa etc.

Due to suspension of visa service in Canada, people wishing to come to India for job, business or trade are not able to get visa.

Actually, people who have settled in Canada from India and have acquired citizenship there, need a visa to come to India.

India issues OCI card

India issues Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card to people wishing to visit India repeatedly.

Indians who have foreign citizenship need to apply separately for this card. People who get this can travel to India as many times as they want.

But those who do not have this card, they need an Indian visa to travel to India like other foreign citizens. This is the reason why such people are facing problems due to suspension of visa service.

The decision to suspend Indian visa services in Canada will impact Canadian citizens of Indian origin who want to come to India for business, tourism or to meet close relatives.

Those who do not have OCI card will also face difficulty

Those who do not have OCI card will also face difficulty in traveling to India. Therefore, the problem is not only for Canadians but also for Canadian citizens of Indian origin.

Canadian citizens of Indian origin who want to obtain an OCI card do not get this service immediately.

As per the rules, an Indian citizen has to surrender his/her previous passport to the Indian Embassy within three months of acquiring Canadian citizenship, after which the passport is cancelled. Only after this they can apply for OCI card.

OCI card is issued to the applicant within five to seven months of submitting the application. Meanwhile, if that person wants to come to India, he will also have to apply for an entry visa like other foreign citizens.

Some people on social media have started demanding that there should be a ban on issuing visas to OCI card holders coming to India from Canada.

However, the current problem between India and Canada has nothing to do with these people. Therefore this demand cannot be justified.

People of the Indian community have been living in Canada for a long time. If we include the descendants of the people who settled in Canada, then according to the 2021 census, there are 18 lakh people of Indian origin living in Canada. This is 5.11 percent of the total population of Canada.

What if Canada also halts visa applications?

The biggest worry is about what if Canada also stops issuing visas to Indians. This will have the biggest impact on Indian students as Canada is their favourite destination for higher studies. Canada also benefits from them as Indian students pay fees to Canadian universities. So Canada will be a big loser if it stops visa service as a retaliatory measure. 

The ongoing standoff between the two countries has also raised concerns among technology companies, professionals and entrepreneurs.

While potential new contracts could get delayed, the impact on projects that Indian IT companies are already implementing there may be limited, since Canada has not halted visa applications by Indians to Canada. But the ramifications on business will be greater if Canada also halts visa applications.

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