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A high powered delegation led by Canadian Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney today called on Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and sought cooperation from the Punjab government to address the issues of fraudulent visa cases that had created a major problem for both Canadian as well as Indian Government.

Expressing concern over the issue, Mr. Badal assured the delegation that Punjab Government would extent its fulsome support and cooperation to evolve a permanent solution to curb this illegal practice. The Chief Minister directed the State Chief Secretary to coordinate with the visiting delegation and chalk out detailed modalities to resolve this issue in a time bound manner. Mr. Badal was apprised in the meeting that few owners of marriage palaces were involved in arranging fake marriages in connivance with travel agents/immigration consultants to provide photographs of marriage in support of proof for the purpose of Canadian visa to illegal persons.

Taking part in the deliberations, Mr. Badal assured the visiting Canadian Minister that State Government would take stringent action against the erring travel agents involved in the exploitation of women in getting them married with the persons intended to seek Canadian Visa which ultimately result in broken marriages.

The other areas of interest taken up by the delegation included diversification of agriculture, trade, education besides initiating programmes to impart skill development training through technology transfer to enable our youth to be gainfully employed in Canada. Mr. Jason Kenney informed that Canadian Government was also keen to seek help from the Punjab Government for setting up high schools with certification from educational institutions of British Colombia in Punjab. He also informed that the agriculture was another thrust areas in which his government was also keen to work together with Punjab for mutual benefits as Punjab had a proven track of agrarian economy in India. He also offered to begin joint study/research programmes to be undertaken in this regard to enhance the productivity of agricultural crops both qualitatively and quantitatively besides initiating steps towards diversification of agriculture which was the need of the hour.

Assuring whole hearted support in the areas of bilateral interests on behalf of the Punjab government, the Chief Minister offered to provide the services of highly skilled technically youth to Canada as per their requirements after all the requisite security and immigration clearances. He said our vibrant young farmers had a knack of farming in their blood as heritage profession and had already done marvels in our state and still they had unbounded abilities and capabilities to do wonders, which could be replicated in Canada too.

The other members of delegation included Param Gill, Tim Uppal and Ed Fast (all MPs) and Director Alyhtihan Velshi. The meeting was also attended by Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Mr. D.S. Guru and Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. K.J.S. Cheema.