It is 8:30 a.m. on A chilly Friday morning in Surrey, B.C., and a queue Of people snakes round a strip mall Inside the Metro Vancouver suburb.

They are not right here for the mall’s candy store or the Filipino fusion restaurant. Most of them have been ready hours for an Indian visa On the BLS Worldwide Visa Software Centre.

Dozens Of people lined up outdoors the BLS Worldwide Office in Surrey, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 18. It comes amid widespread reviews of delays Inside the Indian visa processing system. (Lyndsay Duncombe/CBC)

Arminder Bajwa is Definitely one of lots of of Indian visa candidates who say backlogs Inside the system are leaving people like him in limbo as visa purposes have spiked amid a drop in international journey restrictions. He is been right here since 5:30 a.m. when temperatures have been shut to zero.

Indian visa candidates are calling for the return of an digital visa program that permited on-line purposes and was in place in Canada earlier than the pandemic, As properly as to extra staffing To deal with reported processing delays throughout the nation.

“I’ve spent like $8,000 on tickets,” Bajwa says from the queue, surrounded by dozens of others making an try To primarytain warmth. “For my sister’s marriage … That is my sister, And that i have to be tright here as a Outcome of That is like A apply.

“That state of affairs, inflation and every thing … $8,000,” he repeats.

Arminder Bajwa is Definitely one of dozens of candidates, A pair of of whom had been lining up outdoors the visa office since 3 a.m. He is already booked tickets, which value him hundreds of dollars, so he and his household can go to India. (CBC)

However Bajwa’s passport has been with authorities Contained in the BLS office for over 17 days, and he’s getting determined. 

One other particular person in line said That they had been ready over two months — regardless of the Indian consulate’s said timeline of 30 days for a visa.

Before the pandemic, candidates like Bajwa had entry to an digital visa application that was completely digital, a program that was Destayred to a halt amid journey shutdowns.

And although This method has been restored to over 156 nations, it hasn’t been restored but to Canada, regardless of India’s standing Since the Most very important supply Of latest Asian immigrants to Canada since 2016.

The Indian extreme commissioner-designate, Sanjay Kumar Verma, said that visa purposes have spiked to dramatic ranges but denied widespread delays.

However a voicemail from BLS Worldwide, to which the Indian High Fee has outsupplyd its visa purposes, says that “processing occasions have been enhanced.”

The agency Did not return a request for remark. However an acknowledgement of delays is little comfort for Bajwa and others in his state of affairs.

“The inhabitants in Surrey, Metro Vancouver, is ballooning. It is, like, growing Daily,” he said. “They want extra workplaces. They want extra people.”

Travel agent says e-visa Ought to be restored

Manpreet Grewal, the supervisor of the My Dream Traveler agency in Mississauga, Ont., says that BLS should think about opening extra workplaces throughout Canada and Ontario. 

She says she’s been listening to of delays Inside the system for months and has even revealed a quantity of TikToks for visa candidates looking for suggestion.

“These days, tright here’s solely one location in Brampton for The complete GTA,” she informed CBC Information in an interview.

Presently, tright here are 9 BLS Worldwide workplaces throughout the nation — The one centre that processes purposes for Indian visas in Canada. They’re concentrated Inside The Most very important metropolis centres, Whilst extra immigrants make their method to smaller communities. This suggests People who stay amethod from metropolis centres both Need to mail the BLS centres their paperwork, or make their method tright here in particular person.

Grewal, and the Indian Affiliation of Tour Operators, have referred to as for the e-visa program to return. The program permits these in qualifying nations to fill out The equipment and get an digital journey authorization (ETA), earlier than having their e-visa stamped on their passport On their vacation spot.

Manpreet Grewal, a journey agent in Mississauga, Ont., has made Pretty a few TikToks with suggestion for people wanting Indian visas. She says it’s troublesome to get appointments, even For people who want them immediately as a Outcome of their Indian relations have died. (CBC)

If candidates have Canadian citizenship, Even As quickly as they’re born in India, they Need to get a visa to return, as India Does not permit twin citizenship.

“The primary set off [for] the delay for the visas is as a Outcome of They do not Appear to be opening e-visas,” she said.

High commissioner cites strained resupplys

The extreme commissioner-designate denied Tright here have been vital delays occurring throughout the system, although he conceded Tright here have been huge will enhance in application volumes that had tightened resupplys.

“If I Take A look at Ottawa … October 2022 [visa] submissions as As in contrast with October 2021, submissions have enhanced by 605 per cent,” Verma informed CBC Information in an interview.

He said the comparisons have been comparable for Vancouver and Toronto, with respective will enhance of 203 and 188 per cent since final October.

Sanjay Kumar Verma, the extreme commissioner-designate, said candidates should use the drop-off service at BLS Worldwide web websites — That are solely located in Canada’s largest cities — to primarytain away from prolonged queues. (CBC)

Verma inspired candidates To take a Take A look at visa application timelines on the commission’s internet website and said that these ready in queues at BLS workplaces have been stroll-ins with out appointments.

“So far as We’re involved, We’re processing the visa purposes and granting the eligible candidates’ visa a lot, a lot faster than people in any other case understand,” he said.

As for the e-visa program, Verma said This method was being restored “nation by nation, wanting On the constraints on resupplys.”

“Tright here are discussions. Tright here are factors. Tright here are actions in that course. When It is finally decided by The two governments, then, Really, we’ll hear The Outcome,” he said.

A request for remark from Overseas Affairs Canada was not returned by deadline.



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