WORLD Canada visa services suspended: India

In the midst of escalating diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, visa services for Canadian nationals have been suspended indefinitely by the Indian government.

BLS International, the company responsible for managing visa application centers in Canada, notified the stock exchanges of the suspension in a regulatory filing.

“Important notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21st September 2023 [Thursday], Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” read the statement.


Additionally, the company also emphasised that the suspension will not impact its revenue materially, as Canadian visa issuance business contributes less than 2 percent of its total annual revenues.

An Indian official confirmed the suspension, declining to provide further details but saying, “The language is clear and it says what it is intended to say.” This suspension marks the first time that India has suspended visa services since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As tensions continue to rise, India issued an advisory on Wednesday, urging Indian students and NRIs in Canada to exercise caution due to increasing anti-India activities and what it described as “politically-condoned hate crimes.” Indian students, in particular, have been advised to remain vigilant.

This decision of visa suspension comes as Ottawa announces a temporary adjustment of its staff presence in India, citing concerns over the safety of its diplomats following threats on social media platforms.

Canada’s foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed that some diplomats had received threats on social media platforms and stated, “…Global Affairs Canada [the foreign ministry] is assessing its staff complement in India. As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India. All of our locations are staffed by diplomats and locally engaged staff to ensure business and operational continuity.”


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