The India-Canada row will impact the arrival of Canadian tourists, students and Canadians of Indian origin to India.
In the recent past, the relationship between India and Canada has been friendly and stable. This was the case as of February 23, according to the Ministry of External Affairs’ annual report. However, tensions arose between the two countries after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that India may have possible links with the assassination of Sikh separatist activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar and expelled an Indian diplomat. This was followed by India suspending its visa services in Canada.
Who is affected?
The biggest impact of the cessation of visa issuance to Canadians will be on the Indian diaspora living in Canada. Data from the Ministry of Tourism suggests that in 2022, 2.77 lakh Canadian tourists came to India, making them the fifth-highest foreign tourist population to come to India in that year. The number was 80,000 in 2021. But since many of the Canadians of Indian origin could be traveling with a tourist visa, not all of them could be tourists.
Canada’s census data reveals that its population comprises 1.4 million people of Indian origin. These people will find it difficult to visit their family members back in India now. The pinch could be felt in the coming months, since many of them prefer to travel in December, during Christmas vacation.
There aren’t too many Canadian students in India and, hence, educational institutions are not likely to see an impact. Between 2018 and 2022, only 1015 Canadians arrived in India on a student visa.
The Ministry of External Affairs also issued a notification to Indians in Canada to exercise utmost caution while travelling in the country. This could impact Indian students and professionals working in Canada.
Data from the MEA show that in 2022 Canada was the second most-preferred study location for Indians after the US. While 1.9 lakh Indians went to the US on a student visa in 2022, the corresponding number to Canada was 1.85 lakh. Between 2018 and 2022, the number of Indians who went to Canada to study rose by a whopping 81 per cent. Data also show that among the international student community in Canada, Indians form the largest group, making up 40 per cent of the population.
Apart from students, 5.84 lakh other Indians also travelled to Canada in 2022 and 1.57 lakh in 2021.