Between January and December 2013, high numbers of visitor visas and study permits were issued by Canada’s visa offices in New Delhi and Chandigarh, India. A total of 84,672 visitor visas and 13,613 study permits were issued during this time frame.

“I am pleased to announce that Canada continues to be a destination of choice for visitors, students and business travelers from India, as shown by the substantial increase since 2008 of visitor visas and study permits from the Punjab region,” said Canadian Minister of State (Multiculturalism) Tim Uppal.

These visa issuances represent an overall increase in the travel from India to Canada. Notably, the amount of issued study permits has increased 321 percent since 2008.

A number of initiatives have contributed to Canada’s status as a popular destination. The Business Express Program (BEP), which offers facilitated, priority visa processing for the employees of qualified businesses, is one such initiative. Another is the decision in 2011 to extend the duration of multiple-entry visas from five to ten years, allowing visitors to enter and exit Canada for up to six months at a time.