In a recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM), Immigration Minister Marc Miller shared that out of the 38,000 visas for Indians that Canada planned to process by December, only 20,000 can be processed.
This is because only five IRCC members can currently do the necessary work in India. As a result, the processing of applications will be much slower.
Originally, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aimed to process 38,000 visas for Indian applicants by the end of 2023.
Due to limited on-the-ground staff in India, the IRCC can only process 20,000 applications, leading to processing delays and challenges.
Impact of Staff Shortage:
IRCC says that as a result, there will be:
- Slower Processing: Expect delays in the overall processing times of your visa application.
- Delayed Responses: Inquiries related to your application might take longer to be addressed due to staffing limitations.
- Extended Waiting Periods: The return of visas or passports might take more time than usual, causing inconvenience for applicants.
Around 17,500 Indian applications are expected to be in backlog at the beginning of 2024. Applicants should prepare for potential delays and exercise patience throughout the application process.
The department’s goal is to handle 80% of applications within specified service standards, which differ based on the application type. If an application takes longer than it should, it’s considered backlogged.
For example, processing a student visa from abroad should ideally take 60 days, a family sponsorship application should be done within 12 months, and an Express Entry application should be finished in six months.
Temporary Suspension of In-Person Services:
IRCC says that In-person services at consulates in India have been temporarily suspended. Despite the suspension, applications from India are still being accepted and processed online.
Some application necessities might need to be fulfilled locally or in a secure, designated environment due to the suspension of in-person services.
Focus of the Remaining Staff:
The remaining five IRCC staff in India are focusing on urgent processing, visa printing, risk assessment, and overseeing essential partners.
The staff works diligently to ensure critical tasks are completed despite the challenges.
IRCC Expects To Normalize Indian Visa Processing By 2024
Senior officials from IRCC have stated that the government aims to resume regular processing for Indian applications by early 2024. The department has confirmed that 22 immigration staff members who were relocated from India will soon return to their duties in Canada and the Philippines.
According to an official statement from IRCC addressing the staff reduction, it is highlighted that the majority of applications from India are already processed internationally. Specifically, 89% of India’s applications are handled through the global network
Diplomatic tensions between Canada and India have risen due to the assassination of a prominent Sikh leader in British Columbia.
Canada alleges Indian government involvement, a claim strongly denied by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
What Indian Applicants Need to Do:
- Stay Updated: Regularly check official announcements from IRCC for the latest information regarding visa processing and updates on your application status.
- Practice Patience: Understand that delays might occur. Patience is essential during this period of transition and challenge.
- Alternative Services: While in-person services are suspended, use online resources and diligently fulfill any local requirements.
- Contact Support: If you have urgent concerns, contact the appropriate support channels provided by IRCC for assistance.