Canada continues to be a popular annual destination for tens of thousands of visitors, students and business travelers from India. Between January and December 2013, Canada’s missions in New Delhi and Chandigarh issued almost 85,000 Canadian visitor visas, and an additional 13,613 study permits to Indians.
Canada’s Ministry of Multiculturalism cites the Canadian Business Express Program (BEP) as one key reason for the thriving demand for visitor, study and business travel visas from India. Created in 2008, the BEP was designed to provide qualified businesses and employees with various service advantages including less paperwork, priority processing of visa applications and targeted service with the goal of expediting travel between the two nations.
Trends certainly seem to suggest that Indians are putting Canada’s immigration programs to good use. For example:
- 73% more visitor visas were issued in 2013 than in 2008
- 321% more study permits have been issued to Indians in 2013 than in 2008
- Approximately 2,800 BEP-related visas were issued to Indians in 2013.
In recent years, the Canadian government has also put in place additional measures that it says are assisting and expediting travel between India and Canada.
For example, in 2011 the duration of multiple-entry visas was extended from five to ten years. Multiple-entry visas allow Indian visitors to enter and exit Canada for up to six months at a time over a ten-year period.
The Canadian government now also offers the “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa”—available to parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents—which is valid for up to 10 years. The Super Visa allows eligible parents and grandparents to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time.