Canada’s immigration unit is reducing its number of employees in India from 27 to five. This follows India’s intent to unilaterally remove immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and dependents in Delhi from October 20.
In parallel a travel advisory by the Canadian government says the Consulates General of Canada in Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai are temporarily suspending in-person operations.
“You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi. Consular services in person remain available at the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi,” adds the advisory.
It cautions that reduced staffing levels are expected to impact visa processing times. The five staff members who remain in India will focus on work that requires an in-country presence such as urgent processing, visa printing, risk assessment and overseeing key partners.
Majority of applications from India are already processed outside the country, with 89% of India’s applications processed through the global network.
India is a top source country for immigrants to Canada. According to an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), the number of Indians who became permanent residents in Canada in 2022 was 1.18 lakh, dwarfing the next largest source country for permanent residents, China at just 31,815. In addition, Indian students are also a significant chunk of the international student population in Canada.
Canada’s immigration unit cautions that clients from India can expect to see some delays over the next few months. This includes delays in overall processing times, responses to their enquiries and in getting their visas or passports returned.
Canada has a strong connection with Indian citizens, and will continue to welcome them, whether they wish to come here to visit, work, study, be reunited with loved ones, or live permanently in the country, it emphasised.
The travel advisory for those travelling to India from Canada states that in the context of recent developments in Canada and in India, there are calls for protests and some negative sentiment towards Canada in traditional media and on social media. Demonstrations, including anti-Canada protests, could occur and Canadians may be subjected to intimidation or harassment. In Delhi and the National Capital Region, you should keep a low profile with strangers, and not share your personal information with them. Avoid crowded areas, including public transportation. You should always travel with someone and inform a friend or a family member of your travel plans.
Travellers have also been asked to exercise a high degree of caution in and around Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chandigarh.