Archana Sharma – New Delhi
Canada government recently launched the Can+visa programme with an aim to provide visas to larger number of travellers, especially tourists in a shorter time frame and reduce the screening process for people who have been to through once already. Launched as a pilot plan in India, along with China and Mexico, the Can+ programme issued visas within five days with an approval rate of 95 per cent. Speaking at the official launch of the Can+visa programme in New Delhi, SanJeet, India Representative, Canadian Tourism Commission stated that the Canadian government is going to concentrate more on the leisure and group segments. “The main regions will be British Columbia and Alberta in the west and Ontario and Province of Quebec in the east, till the time we reach a higher growth number,” he said.
The Can+ Visa programme will give the Indian traveller more options for fast and easy travel with an expedited process, which in turn will improve the overall processing time. According to Chris Alexander, minister of citizenship and immigration, Canada, “It is open to all Indian residents who provide any proof that they have travelled to either Canada or the United States in the last decade. Successful applicants will be put through our efficient visa office on priority basis and their application will be processed within five days.” It will provide more opportunities for trade and travel between Canada and the Indian market.”
In 2013, more than 30,000 visitor visas were issued to Indian citizens, making India among the top 10 countries of international visitors to Canada. Almost 95 per cent of the visitor visas issued between January and June 2014, were multiple entry visas allowing as many visits for a maximum of 10 years.
There are other ‘Express’ Visa programmes in place like Business Express with visas issued within three days, Tourist Partner for tourists using travel agencies registered with the Canadian Embassy and Student Partners which fast-tracks study permits with visas issued within 13 days or less for those who study at participating Canadian educational institutions. “On January 1, 2015, we will offer six months processing for our economic immigration programme, a programme which used to take three-four years,” pointed out Alexander.