Seven new Canadian visa application centres will be opened in China to help tourists get the documents they need to travel to Canada.
The announcement was made during Justin Trudeau’s recent visit to the Asian country, during which he aimed to promote increased business ties, as well as boost tourism and immigration.
New biometric security checks mean potential tourists need to apply in person for a visa so that their fingerprints can be taken.
Hence the need for more visa centres spread out across China, adding to those that already exist in cities where Canada has a diplomatic presence.
Canadian and Chinese businesses have also signed 56 new commercial contracts worth $1.2 billion, it was revealed last week.
The two announcements are the first concrete evidence of enhanced ties between Canada and China, which the federal government has been pushing for over the last month.
Chinese candidates already dominate Canada’s international student population, with nearly 120,000 studying here as of the end of 2015. As part of changes due in the fall, the Liberals plan to give as many as possible a pathway to permanent residence after they graduate.
The second quarter of 2016 saw more than 8,250 new Chinese permanent residents, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. That brings the total for 2016 so far to just under 14,500.
McCallum’s visit paved the way for the announcements made during Trudeau’s trip.
The prime minister made a speech on his arrival in Beijing, saying his country was more open to trade than other tier one nations, and had a lasting and enduring friendship with the Chinese. He also said Canadians were less wary of the ‘tremendous appetite’ of the Chinese business community for expanding into new frontiers.
China is understood to be keen for Canada to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, something that Trudeau was again positive about during his appearance in Beijing.
Trudeau’s visit concluded with the G20 Summit, which took place on September 4 and 5 in Hangzhou.
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