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Real stories behind the indirect route to Canada

We Indians choose Canada because of the country’s large Indian diaspora. Because the big Indian community settled in Canada, it allows us to obtain a taste of home in addition to a better level of living. Canada is a welfare state, with easy access to healthcare and education for permanent citizens.

As the world’s second-largest country, Canada has a lot to offer travelers, and no matter what they are looking for, they will most likely find it here. But, recent times have not been favorable to us as India is one of the worst-hit countries by the COVID-19 Virus.

Fear of the disastrous second Covid-19 outbreak raging in India, as well as transmission of the extremely contagious Delta variety, prompted Canada to ban direct flights. The prohibition on direct flights from India has now been extended till August 21. The restriction, which went into effect on April 22, was set to end on July 21 but Canada has now extended the prohibition for the fourth time.

Simran Bal is the daughter of an Indian grocer in Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood. She has expressed concerns after her father was forced to travel to India due to an emergency.

“We’re now scared he’ll be stranded there… because he’s in a more distant place. There are already members of our family stranded there. They live in England and have already had all of their flights canceled” Bal said.

Even if you get to travel to Canada via indirect routes, the problem doesn’t end there as there are further rules and restrictions in your way as well. From August 9, fully vaccinated Americans and permanent residents will be allowed to enter Canada for non-essential travel if they finish their vaccines at least 14 days before visiting. 

Denying Indian flights has proved to be tremendously inconvenient for both Indians and Canadians. India is one of Canada’s most important friends and the country’s most significant supplier of new immigrants and international students. India accounts for 20% of Canada’s new permanent residents. Indians account for 30% of all new international students in Canada. Nearly 1.4 million Canadians classified themselves as being of Indian ancestry in the 2016 Census. 

As the government there has imposed restrictions on direct flights from India, we have to take indirect routes to reach Canada, and get checked for the Coronavirus in a “third country.” This is because the Covid-19 molecular test report from India is not accepted in Canada.

Those of you who tested positive for Covid-19 in the past and plan to fly from India to Canada must now produce documentation of a coronavirus positive test performed 14 to 90 days before departure. Travelers may also be required to seek entrance into a third nation and stay there for at least 14 days. In addition to putting Indian passengers in a 14-day quarantine, several countries may refuse to let them in if they have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past. There’s also the possibility that they’ll be sent back to where they started.

Rachna Shah is an Indian studying at a prestigious university in Canada. She visited India to meet her family members who live in India currently but for a few days, she got to know that Canada has banned direct flights from India. She had to go to Canada for some urgent work related to her University so she decided to travel to Canada via a third country route. She chose to go to Canada via the Maldives but that didn’t prove to be a good decision for her as she was asked to stay in quarantine for 14 days before allowing her to travel further to Canada.

“I was left with no other option and it was urgent so my family asked me to go via an indirect route but that backfired badly”, she said. “When I reached there, instead of going to Canada, I spent 14 days in quarantine and it was really annoying and depressing at the same time. My family was so worried about me but there was nothing we could do”

Additionally, not all major airlines in these ‘third countries’ offer Covid-19 testing, so travelers may need to go elsewhere once they arrive. The revised COVID-19 restrictions enforced by Canadian authorities have contributed to the already-existing difficulties faced by Indian passengers seeking to visit the nation for professional, educational, professional, or other purposes. Some nations may place you in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days following their arrival. This might even cause you to miss your deadlines and increase your costs.

Kishore Sharma works as a sales executive for a famed corporation. He visited India last year for the funeral of a relative. During his visit, he was affected by corona. He was bound to stay in India till he recovered. Even after his recovery, he was not allowed to return to Canada because the administration did not accept Kishore’s medical reports. Because of Covid and the new rules and regulations enacted by the government in response to the Covid crisis, Kishore was unable to return to Canada for urgent business-related work. He expressed his dilemma by saying: 

“I suffered a major loss. It was difficult to sit and watch your career suffocate”.

We have already been suffering a lot due to the spread of corona in our country, and now the new rules and restrictions have added to our burden and problems even more. Many of us who need to travel to Canada for some urgent reason have to wait for at least 15 days even after taking a third-country route to reach Canada. All in all, we can say that there are myriads of stories behind the people’s decision to travel to Canada via indirect routes, especially in recent times.

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