The government of China has stated that it will authorize Canada to open seven additional visa application centres across China. The announcement, which was widely expected following a recent visit to China by Canada's Immigration Minister, John McCallum, comes during an official visit to China by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The announcement was made in a joint statement released on September 1, 2016, which also touched on trade, security, and environmental issues. The number of visa offices in China is now scheduled be be raised from five (including Hong Kong) to 12.
Boosting tourism is part of both governments' plans to create closer bilateral links. With Chinese tourist travel to Canada having risen 24 percent in the first six months of 2016, only Americans and Britons visit Canada more than the Chinese.
“This is an important element that Prime Minister Trudeau is promoting in his visit to China,” said Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada's Envoy to China. “As of this summer, you can fly to Canada from 11 cities here in China . . . that’s why (we) need to have more visa application centres.”
Saint-Jacques noted that the number of Chinese tourists who visited Montreal this year has spiked 200 per cent since a direct Air China flight from Beijing was added in September, 2015.
The exact locations of the seven new visa application centres is not clear at this time. However, during Minister McCallum's recent visit to China the following five cities were designated as likely new locations for Canadian visa offices: Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Jinan and Shenyang. They could open as soon as next year. In addition to receiving Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications from Chinese citizens who wish to visit Canada for tourism purposes, the visa offices are also expected to process applications from international students and foreign workers.