CHINA is to launch its own visa bureau, opening the door to a wider range of countries to enter Canada’s economy, including Australia and New Zealand.
The move follows an agreement between Canada and China that allows Chinese tourists to enter the country, which is expected to open its doors to Chinese nationals this year.
“The Government of Canada is making the necessary reforms to ensure that foreign visitors to Canada can freely enter and work in Canada, while respecting our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in a statement.
He added that the department is working with industry and stakeholders to finalize regulations to allow Chinese visitors to apply for permanent residency.
China has already begun offering permanent residency to Chinese citizens who come to Canada through its existing visa-free program.
But the department said the new bureau would be the first of its kind.
It would be administered by an independent agency, known as the Overseas Chinese Business and Cultural Organisation, and it would provide services such as hiring staff and administering visa applications.
Kenney’s announcement follows China’s recent announcement that it would open its own Visa Bureau, which has opened for business in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The new bureau will have more than 200 employees, and would operate out of offices in Toronto and Ottawa.
The department said it has received approval from the federal government to begin accepting applications from Chinese citizens applying for permanent residence, but has yet to receive any final approval from Ottawa.
In Canada, about 10 per cent of the total population of about 11.4 million people are Chinese.