On October 19, 2023, the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) officially announced that visa applicants from India should expect processing delays due to an ongoing diplomatic dispute.
The reason for the processing delays is India’s request that Canada reduces the number of diplomats it has stationed in India. As of October 20, there were 62 Canadian diplomats stationed in India. However, 42 of them, along with their family members, have left India.
This reduction in personnel means that only 21 Canadian diplomats now remain in India, aligning with the specific requirement imposed by the Indian government for equality in diplomatic representation.
The Indian government has made it explicitly clear that they will maintain immunity for the same number of Canadian diplomats in India as the number of Indian diplomats enjoying diplomatic privileges in Canada, which stands at 21.
Understanding the Diplomatic Rift: What Happened?
- Staff Reductions: Canada is reducing its diplomatic staff in India from 27 to 5 in response to India’s decision to withdraw immunities for the majority of Canadian diplomats.
- Maintaining Diplomatic Parity: The reduction in staff is an effort to align with India’s demand for parity in diplomatic presence between the two countries.
Immediate Impacts on Visa Processing:
The reduction in diplomatic staff has direct consequences on visa processing for Indian applicants, leading to delays and changes in services.
- Processing Delays: Visa applicants from India should anticipate processing delays due to the reduced staff, affecting overall processing times, responses to inquiries, and visa stamping on passports.
- Services for Canadian Citizens in India: Canadian citizens in India will face challenges accessing assistance, with walk-in services at consulates in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chandigarh temporarily paused. The Canadian High Commission in Delhi remains the primary point of contact.
- Overall Processing Times
- Getting answers to their questions.
- Getting back their visas or passports.
Canada’s Response and Continued Immigration Importance:
Despite the challenges, Canada maintains a welcoming stance towards Indian immigrants and students, recognizing the crucial role they play in the nation’s growth.
- Canada’s Stance: Canada does not intend to escalate the situation further. The country remains committed to welcoming newcomers from India.
- Immigration Significance: India holds a vital position in Canada’s immigration landscape. The country is the top source for temporary residents and permanent residents, contributing significantly to Canada’s economic and cultural diversity.
“A unilateral revocation of diplomatic privileges and immunities is contrary to international law. It is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”Canada Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly
Importance of India In Canada Immigration
India stands as Canada’s primary source of new residents. Over 118,000 Indians became Canadian permanent residents, making up 27% of the total newcomers, which was over 437,000 people.
Canada also welcomed more than 226,000 Indian international students, who were 41% of all the new international students in Canada that year. And, nearly 60,000 Indians became Canadian citizens in 2022.
Canada can’t afford to lose its main source of immigrants and visas, as it’s essential for the country’s economy and development.
“India isn’t only the top country for permanent and temporary residents but their citizens have made great contributions to Canada and that can’t be understated. Newcomers from India have played a vital role and we will continue to welcome them.”Canada Immigration Minister Marc Miller
Navigating the Changes: What You Can Do
Given the ongoing situation, prospective applicants must stay informed and prepare adequately for potential delays and alterations in the application process.
- Stay Informed: Regularly check official updates from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the latest developments and announcements.
- Prepare Thoroughly: As processing times may extend, ensure all application documents are complete, accurate, and up-to-date to minimize delays.