19 July 2010

Saudis secure a better Canadian Visa deal

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has secured a better visa deal for nationals entering Quebec and Canada to study or work after quiet lobbying.

Canadian Visa

Saudis will benefit from a new Canadian Visa that is valid for five years with multiple entry.

In 2002, immigration rules were tightened and the changes required Saudis to apply for entrance visas before coming to Canada to study or work. These visas were only valid for 18 months.

After quiet lobbying in Ottawa over a number of months, a new Canadian Visa deal now allows Saudis five years of unlimited entry.

Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, David Chatterson, announced the changes on the website of  Canadian Embassy in Riyadh earlier this year  saying they would "greatly facilitate movement" of students and business people between the two countries.

Despite tougher visa controls imposed in 2002, the number of Saudis entering Canada on entrance visas has increased greatly.

Canada granted entrance visas to 5,292 new Saudi students and 1,665 Saudi Arabian workers in 2009 alone, compared to 199 Saudi workers and 351 students admitted on visas in 2002, according Citizenship and Immigration Canada data.

Currently around 8,200 Saudi students study in Canada, and two thousand more students are expected to enter the country to study by the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia is paying for about 62,000 of its students to attend foreign universities over the world through a major scholarship program.

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for a Canadian Visa with the Canadian Embassy.   

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