Strikes could enhance Canadian visa backlogs

People applying to emigrate, study or work in Canada can expect to experience severe delays in their visa applications for the foreseeable future, as industrial action hits Canadian embassies around the world.

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A pay dispute between the Canadian government and the Diplomats’ Trade Union has seen diplomats go on strike at 15 embassies around the world, including London, Paris, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. Although staff at the embassies will continue to take visa applications, as of yesterday there are no diplomats on hand to approve them.

There is currently no information regarding how long the strike will last, and with the country already suffering from lengthy immigration backlogs, the situation will need to be resolved soon in order to avoid the delays becoming out of control.

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A statement on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website yesterday stated: “Anyone applying for a visa should anticipate delays and submit their application as far in advance as possible.”

For the time being, CIC has said that it will be prioritising “urgent humanitarian visa applications” as the department monitors the labour situation. Alexis Pavlich, the press secretary for Canada’s new Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, has said that all visa offices will keep essential staff to deal with such “essential” services.