During a visit to India, Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander officially launched the new “Can+” visa program, which is designed to provide expedited visa processing to Indian nationals who frequently visit Canada.
The Can+ visa will be available to Indian nationals who have traveled to either Canada or the United States during the last 10 years. The Canadian government is hoping the new visa will add to the already close business and economic ties between India and Canada. India is already among the top ten source countries for international visitors to Canada, with more than 130,000 Canadian visitor visas issued to Indian nationals in 2013.
The Canadian government is hoping that a recent Can+ pilot program that was launched in India will be indicative of the future success of the overall program. In the pilot program, visas were successfully issued within five days of application, with a visa approval rate of 95 percent. One key reason for this expedited visa approval is that the Can+ program requires less documentation during the application process.
The Can+ visa arrives at a time when there are growing ties between India and Canada; so much so that between January and June this year, almost 95 percent of all visas issued to Indians were multiple-entry visas, allowing Indian visitors to visit Canada as many times as they wish over the course of a 10 year period.
In addition to the new Can+ visa, there are three “express” visa programs designed to assist Indian businesspeople, students and tourists seeking to visit Canada. These visas include:
- Business Express—expediting business travel from India, with visas usually issued within three days of application
- The Tourist Partner Program—an expedited, simplified program for Indian visitors using travel agents registered with the Canadian embassy
- Student Partners Program—a method for fast tracking visas (within 13 days) for Indian students seeking to study at Canadian universities.
In addition to promoting the Can+ program during his visit to India, Immigration Minister Alexander also took the opportunity to promote the Canadian government’s new “Express Entry” program to Indian business and government leaders.
Alexander told the Indian audiences that the new Express Entry immigration program will expedite the immigration process for “talented newcomers” to Canada, to the benefit of the Canadian economy.
Slated to commence in 2015, the new Express Entry program will allow the Canadian government to select the immigrants that it deems to be best suited for available openings, rather than simply those who were the first in the application line.