Canada’s top immigration body said that it expects Indian visa processing, set to be impacted due to recent withdrawal of diplomats, to return to normal by early 2024.
According to senior officials at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the reduction of staff in India is expected to create a backlog of 17,500 ‘final decisions’ across the country’s global immigration system over the next two months.
However, the government hopes to return back to normal processing by ‘early 2024’, the CIC News reported citing officials.
This can be achieved as the immigration staff pulled from India reestablishes itself and gets back to work in Canada and the Philippines, the report said.
In addition, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hinted on Sunday that the visa services, which were suspended last month following a diplomatic row between the two nations, could be started “very, very soon” as the security situation improves.
He said India stopped issuing visas in Canada “as it was no longer safe for our diplomats to go to work to issue visas”.
With India maintaining that it seeks parity in diplomatic presence, Canada evacuated 41 of its diplomats last week and said that only 21 of them would be stationed in India henceforth.
The IRCC had earlier issued a statement saying that its staff in India is being reduced from 27 to just five members due to which operations will be impacted and client service will be affected.
The IRCC said its remaining staff in India will focus on work that requires an in-country presence, which includes urgent processing, visa printing, risk assessment and overseeing key partners, including visa application centres, panel physicians and clinics that perform immigration medical exams.
The rest of the work and staff will be reassigned across IRCC’s global processing network, the report said.
More than 118,000 Indians became Canadian permanent residents in 2022, which was 27 per cent of the over 437,000 new permanent residents welcomed by Canada.
The North American nation opened its door to more than 226,000 Indian international students last year and nearly 60,000 Indians became Canadian citizens in 2022.