June 22, 2018 – Scarborough – To make applying online more convenient and accessible for Chinese travellers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has added UnionPay as a new payment option. UnionPay is the largest and most popular payment provider in China.
Today IRCC Minister Ahmed Hussen highlighted this initiative on the eve of a federal, provincial, territorial tourism trade mission to China led by Minister Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism. Minister Chagger will echo this announcement in China.
The new payment option is just one in a series of measures that IRCC has undertaken recently to facilitate travel for Chinese travellers.
2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism which follows a record year for the number of applications processed in mainland China. Chinese citizens accounted for 23 percent of all temporary resident visa applications that IRCC received in 2017. The approval rate for Chinese citizens is very high, averaging 88.5% since 2015.
Improving the services that are offered to our clients is a priority for IRCC. To support the growth in demand for visas from China, the department recently expanded its visa application centre (VAC) network by adding 7 new VACs in China in late 2017, to bring the total to 12.
The department made recent updates that will benefit Chinese citizens, such as the launch of the Student Direct Stream for faster study permit processing. We are also piloting the use of computer analytics in processing visa applications from China. The pilot’s goals are to help officers identify applications that are routine and straightforward for thorough but faster processing and to triage files that are more complex for an even more detailed review. Protecting the safety and security of Canadians remains a priority. In all cases, officers have to screen for security and criminality for all applications.
IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency have also added 2 Chinese airlines, China Eastern Airlines and XiamenAir, and the Montréal‑Trudeau Airport (for Air Canada flights only) to the China Transit Program to offer visa-exempt transit through Canada for eligible Chinese travellers who are en route to and from the United States.
The flexibility provided by the new payment option, VAC support and other recent changes will make it easier for Chinese travellers to come to Canada.
“Canada and China enjoy a close and longstanding relationship that will only grow stronger as we work to increase the 2-way flow of visitors between our nations. Every year, the number of Chinese visitors continues to increase and, in 2017 alone, this number jumped by 18 percent. This increase in Chinese visitors contributed nearly 1.25 billion dollars to Canada’s economy, an amount that we expect to grow significantly over the next 4 years. UnionPay will make it even easier for more Chinese travelers to apply to visit Canada.
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“Canada and China enjoy strong people-to-people ties. As we celebrate the Canada-China Year of Tourism (CCYT), I am happy to see that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has added this new payment option for Chinese travellers, making online applications for visas more convenient and accessible for them. Canada welcomed an estimated 682,000 visitors from China last year compared with 195,000 in 2010, when we were first granted approved destination status. By taking steps to improve our services, our government’s strategy to double two-way trade by 2025 is starting to pay off.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism