The ongoing diplomatic conflict between Canada and India is causing delays in visa processing for Indians who intend to travel to Canada.
Marc Miller has officially confirmed a significant slowdown in the visa processing for Indian nationals seeking entry to Canada. They made this announcement during a press conference held in Ottawa on Thursday, October 19.
This delay in visa processing directly results from India’s request for Canada to reduce the number of its diplomats stationed in India. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mélanie Joly, revealed that 41 Canadian diplomats have departed from India, leaving only 21 diplomats remaining.
The diplomatic discord between the two nations stems from a declaration made by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on September 18. Trudeau accused India of involvement in the murder of a prominent Sikh activist in Canada, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
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Significant Staff Reduction in India to Affect Visa Processing
In a recent announcement, IRCC has disclosed that it will significantly reduce its Canadian staff presence in India. According to a statement from IRCC, the current staff of 27 will be slashed to just 5 employees.
Immigration Minister Miller has moved to assure clients in India and Canadians with connections in the country that Canada will continue to accept and process all temporary and permanent resident applications. Nonetheless, the reduction in staff will lead to short-term consequences.
To mitigate these impacts, IRCC will adjust the workload for Visa Application Centers (VACs), which handle most Indian applications. However, they will still need to manage some tasks via email. As a result, applicants should anticipate longer processing times, delayed responses to inquiries, and extended visa issuance timelines.
VACs, which third parties operate, will continue to work usually. Applicants will still have access to administrative support, passport transmission, and biometric submission at one of IRCC’s ten centers in India.
Minister Miller emphasized the valuable role that newcomers from India play in Canada and affirmed that IRCC will remain open to welcoming them. Canada’s Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) will continue accepting students, but the processing of new applications will be regrettably slower.
The IRCC statement highlights that they process most Indian applications outside the country. Furthermore, it specifies that IRCC’s global network manages 89% of India’s applications. The 5 remaining IRCC staff members in India will concentrate on tasks that require an in-country presence. Such as urgent processing, visa printing, risk assessment, and oversight of key partners.
IRCC Warns of Delays for Indian Clients in Visa Processing
By Minister Miller’s statements, the IRCC’s recent statement outlines the delays that Indian clients can anticipate, including:
- Extended overall processing times
- Slower responses to their inquiries
- Prolonged wait times for visa and passport returns
Notably, India stands as Canada’s foremost source country for new arrivals. In 2022, more than 118,000 Indians acquired Canadian permanent residency. They constitute 27% of the 437,000 new permanent residents welcomed by Canada. Furthermore, Canada admitted over 226,000 Indian international students last year, accounting for 41% of the 551,000 international students accepted by Canada. Canada granted Canadian citizenship to nearly 60,000 Indians in 2022.
Canada offers an extensive selection of over 100 economic-class immigration pathways. Indians are favorably positioned within Canada’s immigration system thanks to their English-language proficiency, high levels of education, work experience, and skills. Many Indians opt to begin their Canadian journey by pursuing education in the country before deciding to apply for permanent residence. A popular choice for Indians is the Student Direct Stream (SDS), a fast-track study permit pathway. IRCC data reveals that over 95% of SDS applications originate from India.