After a month-long freeze, Indian officials say the High Commission in Ottawa and consulates-general in Toronto and Vancouver will resume processing some types of visas starting Thursday.
The announcement was posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday morning. According to the release, officials will resume services for entry visas, business visas, medical visas and conference visas.
“Emergency situations will continue to be addressed by the High Commission and the Consulates General as it is being done currently,” the announcement says.
“Further decisions, as appropriate, would be intimated based on continuing evaluation of the situation.”
In late September, Indian officials in Canada suspended visa services after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged India may have been involved in the killing of a pro-Khalistan activist in British Columbia.
Since then, Indian-born Canadians and their families have struggled to get home, with some lining up for hours outside Indian visa offices in Ontario.
India has forcefully denied the prime minister’s accusation, leading to high diplomatic tensions. Last week, 41 Canadian diplomats left India after the country announced that individuals they had listed would lose their diplomatic immunity on Oct. 20.
After the mass exit, Trudeau accused India of violating international law and said the threat of revoking diplomatic immunity “is something that all countries in the world should be very worried about.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan said it’s “good to see” that visa services have resumed but added it “would have been nice” if the freeze had never happened in the first place.
Sajjan also said the federal government has been asking India for greater cooperation in the investigation into the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the pro-Khalistan activist.
Reporters also asked Sajjan what the government knows about the ongoing police investigation into Nijjar’s death. In response, Sajjan cited the independence of police investigators and said he has “confidence in their ability to do a good and thorough investigation.”
Immigration Minister Marc Miller told reporters Wednesday that visa services never should have been suspended. He also said the “really concerning diplomatic situation with India has created a lot of fear in a lot of communities.”
Marilyne Guèvremont, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada (GAC), told CBC News that GAC is aware of the Indian government’s “decision to resume certain categories of visa processing for Canadians.”
“Canada and India share important people-to-people ties and India’s resumption of visa services will make it easier for families and businesses to travel between our countries,” the statement says.