A fortnight since Indian visa operations were halted in Canada citing ‘operational reasons’ amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, Canadian nationals who are not of Indian origin but have built associations with India remain uncertain about the future but are still hopeful.
Matthew, a Canadian corporate professional who works with a German company, came to Pune in September on a business e-visa. He said, “The Indian government has shared that they will not expel Canadians but no new visas will be processed. So, while I won’t be impacted directly since I applied for mine in June, there is some uncertainty about the whole situation.”
He said there are a lot of business and work connections between Canada and India as many citizens keep travelling between the two countries, especially for global-level corporate functions. The visa restrictions could be a hindrance for other Canadian professionals who might want to come here now.
Earlier this week, India asked Canada to repatriate its diplomats posted in the country in a latest development to the diplomatic standoff sparked off by Canada’s allegation of India’s role in the killing of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
For some, like Simon from North Canada, India became home and this sudden closure of visas has been distressing. “I have a whole life in India, from my work and friends to my partner. I was planning to go back in November but just learned that my visa has been declined,” he said.
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Simon has been regularly travelling to India, eventually living in Rishikesh for a few years as a student of Vedanta philosophy. “I have been coming to India since 2005 and this has never happened,” said the Canadian national who left India last December for a work-stint abroad but is now unable to come back. “I am hoping this will not last,” he said.
“India is a big country with so much to explore and I really want to visit and do a long-term course on meditation or yoga,” said Sadie, another Canadian national, currently based in Australia. She wanted to visit India but has had to put off her plans with the uncertainty around visa applications.
“I am quite surprised because usually Canada has good relations with other countries. I am hoping this will not stay for long,” she said.