In a significant development amid escalating diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, the visa application service provider in Canada has announced the suspension of visa services for Canadian nationals until further notice, starting today.
BLS International, the operator of visa application centers in Canada, issued a public statement citing operational reasons for the suspension of Indian visa services until further notice. This marks the first time that India has suspended visas since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Canada is the second most popular destination for Indian students and immigrants, particularly from Punjab and Haryana, with over 700,000 students studying abroad last year.
The message posted by the Indian visa application center in Canada read, “Important notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21st September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended until further notice.”
The deteriorating diplomatic relations between Canada and India have raised concerns about the visa prospects for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, students, and workers who travel to Canada annually. These concerns emerged following the mutual expulsion of diplomats by Canada and India. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that individuals linked to the Indian government may have been involved in the murder of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
Additionally, Canada’s reported refusal to grant visas to Indian security personnel who had served in Jammu and Kashmir had also garnered attention in this context.
The Indian visa application center in Canada has advised the public to stay updated by checking the BLS website for further announcements and updates regarding visa services.