Daily Life For South Asians in Canada

Daily Life For South Asians In Canada Unaffected By Diplomatic Dispute

Daily Life For South Asians in Canada

Aparita Bhandari, an arts-life reporter based in Toronto, says the tension between India and Canada did cause some visa issues for the diaspora

It is clear that there are tensions in the political relations between India and Canada. This strife has been present for a while. The recent allegations made by Justin Trudeau in the Canadian Parliament is a further example of the breakdown in communication between the two countries.

At the moment, the crisis in the Middle-East is dominating our news headlines, and, therefore, the relationship between Canada and India has taken a bit of a backseat. However, given that the winter months are a time when many Indians visit back home for the festive season, or, because of the break we get for Christmas, there has been a great concern among diaspora-folk regarding the visa processes.

There also seemed to be a sense that the Indian media was misrepresenting the political situation in India. Given the fact that international students from India currently make up a large percentage of recent immigrants, it seemed like their family members in India were concerned about the personal safety of the students. However, there is no cause for concern as far as their day-to-day life is concerned — other than the general concerns around affordable housing, finding work, trying to balance their studies.

ALSO READ: ‘How I Moved From India To Canada Amid Covid’

The situation between India and Canada continues to be a matter of speculation among the lay people, with lots of people giving personal perspectives on the political machinations. As far as I have seen, there has been no update in presenting evidence. But, like I said, other priorities such as the war in the Middle-East and daily concerns of the cost of living are top of mind here. 

For long-time Indo-Canadian residents who may have OCI status or long-term visas, it’s not a particular issue. For people whose visa status may depend on the relations between India and Canada, and who might be planning on a visit, they might face further inconvenience at the visa office — which usually isn’t a pleasant experience anyway.

Hence, there may be longer line-ups. I have heard of people camping out and snaking line-ups, although I have not seen this myself. At the same time, several people I know have made trips to India and back within the last month or so without any trouble. When it comes to stuff like trade relations, then, maybe, there are issues. I have not done any deep research into this.

The main issue, I think, is a broader image that India may have of Canada as being sympathetic to Khalistan. This is a very complicated topic. I honestly have no idea how these problems can be solved. This is for the experts to figure out. For the layperson, I would say that it’s best not to spread misinformation.

(The narrator works as a podcast producer for Pacific Content and has been living in Canada for two decades plus)

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