India to resume visa applications for Brampton and Canadian travellers

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Published October 25, 2023 at 11:11 am

India Canada visa tensions allegations Hardeep Singh Nijjar
The High Commission of India is seen in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle

India will resume processing visa applications for Canadian citizens this week, winding down weeks of uncertainty for travellers and agencies in Brampton.

The High Commission of India in Ottawa says the processing of entry, business, medical and conference travel visas for Canadians will resume on Thursday more than a month after suspending applications and leading to long lines at the BLS visa application office in Brampton.

Indian Consulates in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver have been instructed to resume processing visas, with the High Commission saying more changes could come “based on continuing evaluation of the situation.”

The commission also said that emergency situations “will continue to be addressed by the High Commission and the Consulates General as it is being done currently.”

India halted all visa services in September for citizens of Canada following claims by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “credible allegations” India may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen and Sikh independence activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia. A prominent member of a movement to create an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, Nijjar was involved in promoting the Khalistan referendum in Brampton last September.

With several offices in Canada including Brampton, Montreal and Toronto, BLS is the agency that processes visa requests for India, including for entry, tourist, student and employment visas.

Its services are divided into three main categories: passports, temporary visas and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards. Those eligible for OCI cards are persons of Indian origin who formerly held an Indian passport, along with their children and spouses.

While in Brampton last week, Trudeau has called out India’s decision to oust Canadian diplomats as “contrary to international law.” Trudeau called India’s decision to “unilaterally” revoke diplomatic immunity “a violation of the Vienna Convention governing diplomacy.”

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