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Consul General of Canada Mr. Scot Slessor today called on Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and sought cooperation from the state government to address the issues of fraudulent visa cases that had created a major problem for both Canadian as well as Indian Government.

Mr. Slessor immediately after assuming the office of Consulate General of Canada at Chandigarh paid a courtesy call to Mr. Badal here at Chief Minister's residence this morning. He was accompanied by Consul Program Manager Mr. Terry Venerus.

Mr. Slessor apprised the Chief Minister that the Canadian Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Mr. Jason Kenney was visiting Chandigarh on September 9 to interact with the top brass of Civil and Police administration of Punjab Government to find a permanent solution to curb the illegal practice of immigration.

Taking part in the deliberations, Mr. Badal urged the Consul General to establish skill develop Centre in collaboration with the state government and key players from Canada to train our unemployed youth as per the requirement of the industry in Canada on the pilot basis, which could be later on replicated in all the district headquarters of the state. He said Punjabis by nature were very innovative and enterprising and had already made their presence felt in the Middle East, Europe and USA for enormous contribution towards economic development and growth there. He hoped that this initiative would go a long way to check the abuse of immigration for seeking green pastures especially by our unemployed youth who were often duped by the fraudulent travel agents and immigration consultants.

Expressing concern over the issue, Mr. Badal assured Mr. Slessor that the Punjab Government would extend 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 Consul General of Canada at Chandigarh to chalk out detailed modalities to resolve this issue in a time bound manner.

The other areas of interest taken up in the meeting included diversification of agriculture, trade, education besides initiating programmes to impart skill development training through technology transfer. He Mr. Slessor also offered to help the state government by establishing a state-of-the-art skill development centre in Punjab, which would be instrumental in training the local youth with assured chances of employability in Canada. He further emphasized the need to bring a strict legislation by the state government to curb the malpractices of travel agents in duping the innocent youth, who intend to go abroad. Mr. Slessor also informed the chief minister that the Canadian Embassy had already put the requisite guidelines for visa on the website to facilitate the prospective applicants.

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.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Special Principal Secretary Mr. K.J.S. Cheema.