KUALA LUMPUR- Canada has closed its Visa and Immigration Section here and such services are now being handled by its Singapore office.
Malaysia is among six countries - the others being Germany, Japan, Iran, Bangladesh and Serbia - affected by the streamlining and modernising of immigration and citizenship operations as well as cost cutting.
Canadian High Commission second secretary (Political, Economic and Public Affairs) Stuart Shaw said the decision to close the Kuala Lumpur office would in no way diminish relations between Canada and Malaysia.
"Malaysia will continue to remain a strong trade and investment partner with Canada. There will be no break in services and the visa application process for Malaysians will remain the same.
"The only difference is now they will have to send their passports either personally, by post or courier to Singapore," he said, adding that about 10,000 Malaysian tourists visited Canada annually.
Temporary resident applications or tourist visas that have already been submitted to the High Commission here will continue to be processed to completion, he assured.
However, permanent resident applications will be transferred to the Singapore office for processing.
A travel agency official lamented that the move was already starting to affect some of her customers due to additional costs incurred to get their visas processed.
"Some of them chose to travel to Singapore because they don't trust their passports being sent abroad'" she added.
Michelle Q'Kay, 31, who plans to visit Canada at the year-end, said the new procedure would be an inconvenience to her but "I will not mind it if the visa processing is smoother and faster."