Government of Canada Welcoming Growing Number of Indian Visitors, Students and Immigrants

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CHANDIGARH, INDIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 9, 2010) - Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is helping a growing number of Indians to visit, study in and immigrate to Canada, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
"For over a century, Canada has benefited from the talent and hard work of newcomers from the subcontinent," Minister Kenney said. "Some one million Canadians can trace their ancestry to India, and now a growing number of Indians are getting the chance to visit family and friends in Canada, study at Canadian colleges and universities, or indeed immigrate to Canada as permanent residents."
Last year, India was the top source country of immigration to Canada, with more than 32,000 permanent resident visas issued to Indian nationals, an increase of 13% from the year before, and 53% more than the three-year average from 1997 to 1999.
The number of Indian students granted visas to study in Canada has seen a steep increase in the recent past. By the end of 2010, it is estimated that the number of student visas that CIC issues to Indian students will have tripled over 2008 levels. This is in part due to the Canada-in-India Student Partners Program launched earlier this year by CIC in cooperation with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.
"Thanks to the new Canadian Experience Class introduced by our government, many of these bright young Indians will have a convenient way to become permanent residents in Canada if they choose to do so at the end of their studies," Minister Kenney said.
The Minister also issued a progress report on visa services being offered out of the Canadian Consulate in Chandigarh, which assists would-be travellers from the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana.
The report reveals that in 2009, Canada issued more than double the number of visitor visas out of the Chandigarh office than in 2004, the year that the bureau was first opened. The increase in the number of visas issued in Chandigarh—from 3,300 in 2004 to 10,040 in 2009—is matched by an increase in the visa approval rate to 48%, up from 34% in 2006. Minister Kenney underscored that the number of visas issued by the CIC Chandigarh office in the first six months of 2010 exceeded the total number of visas issued in 2005.
"This is good news for those applying to visit family and friends in Canada," Minister Kenney noted. "While every visa decision is made on the merits of each application, these increased figures show that CIC officials have been working harder, and more efficiently, to make it possible for a growing number of bona fide travellers to visit Canada. I want to thank them for their hard work."
Minister Kenney also commended Indian officials for the progress made in addressing immigration fraud. "One of the reasons why many visa applications are rejected is that they include counterfeit documents, or have been mishandled by crooked immigration consultants. I raised this matter with Punjab Chief Minister Singh in early 2009, and am pleased to see that local authorities have increased their efforts to crack down on many immigration fraudsters. Even stronger enforcement of the laws against this kind of fraud and exploitation would help us to continue improving visa services to our clients."
Following his visit to Chandigarh, Minister Kenney will head to Hong Kong for the next leg of his Asian trip.
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