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Canada's Immigration Minister Says India Visa Processing Will Slow

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Canada’s Immigration Minister Says India Visa Processing Will Slow

The ongoing diplomatic tensions between Canada and India are expected to slow visa processing for Indian individuals intending to travel to Canada. Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller confirmed this during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, October 19.

The cause of the deceleration can be attributed to India’s request for Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in the country. Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, revealed that 41 Canadian diplomats have departed from India, leaving only 21 currently stationed there.

This dispute arose after Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of being involved in the murder of a prominent Sikh activist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Canada on September 18.

Miller assured the public that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) would continue to process temporary and permanent resident applications from India. However, due to the significant reduction in staff, there will be short-term repercussions. IRCC is scaling down its personnel from 27 to just 5, as an official statement outlines.

To alleviate the impact, IRCC plans to adjust the workload for Visa  Application Centres (VACs), which handle most applications from India. Nevertheless, some tasks must be conducted via email, leading to anticipated delays and slower services.

Miller emphasized that newcomers from India play a crucial role in Canada, and despite the temporary setbacks, IRCC will continue to welcome them. Canada’s Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) will still accept students, but processing new applications will be slower than usual.

The IRCC statement highlighted that most applications from India are already processed outside the country through IRCC’s global network, with the remaining staff in India focusing on tasks requiring in-country presence.

In line with Miller’s comments, the IRCC statement advised Indian clients to expect delays in overall processing times, responses to inquiries, and the return of visas or passports. India is a significant source country for newcomers to Canada, with over 118,000 Indians becoming Canadian permanent residents in 2022, constituting 27% of the total new permanent residents.

Moreover, in the same year, India accounted for over 226,000 international students in Canada, making up 41% of the total new international students. 

Canada offers various immigration pathways, and Indians, benefiting from English-language proficiency and high levels of education and skills, are well-positioned under the country’s immigration system. Many Indians opt to study in Canada, utilizing pathways like the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which, despite potential delays, remains a popular option, as evidenced by over 95% of SDS applications originating from India, according to IRCC data.

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