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Canada, Punjab join hands to check illegal immigration

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi/ Chandigarh 

To crack down on the scruplous immigration agents engaged in million dollar business in India by cheating vulnerable applicants,a high powered delegation led by Canadian Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney today called on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Kenney said that Canada issued 265,000 resident visas last year and 32,000 of new permanent residents were Indians.

He added that the maximum number of applications from India were from Punjab.

He said that those who wish to apply should not take the service of immigration agents as the entire information is available on website.

He said due to fake documents used by the Indians, the visa approval rate was 48 per cent.

Expressing concern over the issue of unlawful immigration, the chief minister informed Kenney had already asked the Director General of Police not to be complacent in this regard and the Punjab government was determined to find a permanent solution to curb this illegal practice. He also said that ADGP Intelligence had been deputed as a nodal officer to coordinate with the office of Consulate General of Canada based at Chandigarh. He also assured the visiting delegation that the unscrupulous travel agents/immigration consultants would not be spared for their indulgence in the illegal immigration activities.

The Chief Minister also asked Kenney to direct Canadian Embassy to be in touch with the state police department to immediately bring in its notice about cases of unlawful immigration in Canada from Punjab which ultimately also land our innocent people especially the unemployed youth in deep trouble who managed to go abroad in search of green pasture even after selling their hard earned property.

The Chief Minister also urged Kenney to direct the Canadian Embassy to a keep close liaison with the state Chief Secretary and his Principal Secretary to make them abreast of such developments.

He emphasized the need to have regular meetings of the Consul General with the Chief Secretary and senior officers of the Punjab police to closely monitor the situation in order to reverse the trend of illegal immigration rather motivating the people who intend to go abroad through a proper channel in line with the prescribed visa guidelines of Canadian government to avoid undue harassment there. He impressed upon Kenney to make the procedure of visa more simplified to benefit the majority of people to get their visa stamped.

Taking part in the deliberations, Kenney apprised the Chief Minister that the acceptance of the visa applications had almost been doubled during the last five years especially in the case of visitor visa. Likewise, there had been a considerable increase in the acceptance of visa applications for higher education also. He also sought Badal’s personal intervention to nab the unscrupulous travel agents who were aiding the persons in illegal immigration to the Canada.

He asked Badal to send the students in Canada, who intend to pursue higher education only after completing the requisite formalities as per the visa guidelines prescribed by the office of Canadian High Commission and underlined the need to bring a strict legislation by the state government to check the mal practices of travel agents.

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First Published: Fri, September 10 2010. 00:38 IST