Canada drops immigration policy on Sikh surname


on off on off......
TORONTO: The Canadian government has reversed a decade-old policy that forced Indians with the last name Singh or Kaur to change their surnames to apply to immigrate.

For the past 10 years, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi told Indians wishing to immigrate to Canada that the religious Sikh surnames were too common to process quickly and that a name change would be required.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada said on Wednesday it was canceling the policy, after The World Sikh Organization raised the issue on Tuesday.

Immigration authorities said the policy was a misunderstanding based on a “poorly worded'' letter.

Tarvinder Kaur, a Calgary woman waiting for her husband, Jaspal Singh, to arrive in Canada, told reporters that her husband's permanent residency application had been delayed for over a month because of his last name.

A national Canadian news organization posted the letter to Kaur from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi on its Web site.

The letter, dated May 17 and addressed to Jaspal Singh, said: ``Please note that your surname must be endorsed on your passport. The names Kaur and Singh do not qualify for the purpose of immigration to Canada.''

Sikhs typically give baptized males the name Sing and females the name Kaur.

Canadian census figures show that there were 278,410 Sikhs in Canada in 2001.