In an October 19th, 2023 press conference, Immigration Minister stated that the ongoing Canada-India conflict will cause delays in processingIndian visa applications. Despite this, he underscored the importance of newcomers from India in Canada and assured that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will continue to adopt a welcoming approach.
The recent slowdown in visa processing for Indian applicants can be attributed to India's decision to revoke diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and their dependents in New Delhi by October 20, 2023. This decision has put 41 Canadian diplomats and 42 of their dependents at risk of losing their diplomatic privileges.
According to a statement from the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), this revocation of diplomatic privileges and immunities is seen as a violation of international law and is considered an unreasonable and escalatory action. It is worth noting that India had previously accredited each of the Canadian diplomats they are now expelling, despite their dedicated service that benefited both countries.
IRCC has emphasised that these mass expulsions are the primary cause of the anticipated disruptions in operations and the resulting impact on client services, causing delays in visa processing.
Senior officials from the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have projected a backlog of approximately 17,500 "final decisions" across Canada's global immigration system in the next two months due to reduced staff in India.
However, the government's objective is to reinstate regular processing by "early 2024." This target is attainable as the 22 immigration personnel withdrawn from India will reintegrate and resume their duties in Canada and the Philippines, contributing to the return to normal processing times.
The anticipated timeline for resuming normal visa processing for India is as follows:
The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has temporarily suspended all in-person services at Consulates in India until further notice, and has downsized their team from 27 to just five personnel. This will have a significant impact on the service standards available to Indian residents.
The remaining IRCC staff in India will focus on tasks that require an in-country presence, such as urgent processing, visa issuance, risk assessment, and the oversight of key partners. The remaining workload and personnel will be redistributed across IRCC's global processing network.
IRCC expects that India's visa operations will return to normal in the early part of the upcoming year.
Impact of staff reduction on visa operations
The staff reduction will have a number of negative impacts on visa operations in India, including:
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Why are there expected delays in processing Indian visas?
The delays are anticipated due to the diplomatic conflict between Canada and India, which has led to reductions in staff and a temporary suspension of in-person services at Consulates.
How significant is the backlog expected due to these delays?
Senior IRCC officials have forecasted a backlog of approximately 17,500 "final decisions" across Canada's global immigration system in the next two months.
When is it expected that visa processing for India will return to normal?
The government aims to restore normal processing by "early 2024" as immigration staff members withdrawn from India will reintegrate and resume their work.
What services will be temporarily suspended at Consulates in India?
All in-person services at Consulates have been temporarily suspended until further notice, but IRCC will continue to receive and process applications from India.
How will the downsizing of the IRCC team in India affect visa operations?
The reduction in staff from 27 to just five personnel will significantly impact the service standards available to Indian residents.
What tasks will the remaining IRCC staff in India focus on?
The remaining staff will handle tasks that require an in-country presence, including urgent processing, visa issuance, risk assessment, and supervision of key partners like visa application centres.