Travel from India to Canada increased more than 100 percent year over year this summer, according to new federal data released Friday.
The increase comes as countries around the world continue to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions and raises new questions about how many people could see their travel plans threatened after India announced this week the closure of visa centers in Canada. a diplomatic quarrel.
Last year, there were a total of 28,000 trips during the month of July from India to Canada. Last July, that number was 115.9 percent higher than last year, or 61,000 trips, according to new data from Statistics Canada. However, the number of trips decreased compared to June, when 64,000 trips from India to Canada were recorded.
The increase in travel illustrates the stakes of rising diplomatic tensions between India and Canada following the a*sa*sination of a British Columbia Sikh leader in June this year.
On Thursday, India halted visa services to Canada. The news was first shared as a notice on the Indian Visa Application Center BLS website. BLS is the agency that processes visa applications for India.
“Important notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, effective September 21, Indian visa services have been suspended until further notice,” the statement said.
For Rohit, a Toronto resident, whom PKBNEWS identifies only by his first name, fearing that sharing his concerns might impact his travel document application, means he may not be able to see his parents aging this year.
Rohit said he has not returned to India since 2019 and now his travel plans are at stake.
“This came out of nowhere,” he said. “It totally took me by surprise.”
BLS processes many types of Indian visas, including visitor visas and Overseas Indian Citizen (OCI) cards, for Canadians. Visitor visas are required for people without Indian pa*sports to travel to India. The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes the OCI card as a “multi-purpose, multi-entry, lifetime visa that allows the holder to travel and stay in India whenever and wherever they wish.”
In fashion now
It’s the latest diplomatic escalation between India and Canada since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up in the House of Commons on Monday and announced there was “credible” evidence of “potential ties.” between agents of the Indian government and the murder of the Sikh leader of British Columbia. Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
Manan Gupta, an immigration consultant at Skylake Immigration in Brampton, said the latest wave of tensions between governments does not sit well with the Indian diaspora in Canada.
“It causes a lot of additional disruption and discomfort,” he said.
Many Canadian citizens still have close family members living in India.
“This is going to hit a lot of people very close to home,” Gupta said. “It will affect ordinary people.”
Overall, international travel to Canada increased from 6.1 million in July 2022 to 8.4 million, with the bulk of international visitors coming from the United States. In July, 3.1 million U.S. residents entered Canada and 3.7 million Canadian residents returned from the United States.
The largest year-over-year percentage increase from an international destination was from China. Chinese visitors increased by 243.5%, from 8,000 in July 2022 to 28,000 in 2023.
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