In view of creating more jobs amid global economic crisis, Canada issued close to a record-breaking one million visiting visas last year. The immigration minister in a statement has said that Canada aims to further accelerate the visa issuing process to attract genuine visitors.
"The government is committed to attracting an increasing number of visitors to Canada as part of our plan to grow the Canadian economy and create jobs," said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
"We strive to issue visas as quickly as possible to facilitate travel for genuine visitors - to welcome tourists, to reunite families - and benefit from the economic spinoff they bring to Canada," said Minister Kenney.
According to the immigration department, the number of visas issued in 2012 shows an increase of almost 40% since 2004.
"This steady increase over the last few years reaffirms the fact that Canada continues to be a destination of choice for visitors," said Alexis Pavlich, an officer at the immigration department.
Minister of State Maxime Bernier said that welcoming more international visitors to the country meant paving the way for creating more jobs and better economic growth.
"Welcoming more international travellers to Canada creates jobs and growth in our country," Bernier said in the same statement. "Receiving a visa in a timely and efficient manner is important to our visitors, and helps position Canada competitively as a destination of choice in the world."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government in recent years has added several new tools to attract more foreign visitors.
In 2011, the federal government extended the issue of multiple-entry visa from five years to ten years.
Under the new multiple-entry visa system, visitors can enter and exit Canada for up to six months at a time over the ten-year visa period.
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