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Strike Effects On Canada Visa Applicants

As the Canadian immigration strike enters its sixth month, Canadian visa applicants are right to be concerned about delays.

Staff working in Canadian embassies around the world have been on strike since 6 June 2013. The strike was called by the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO).

Who is affected? All Canada visa applications have been affected.

Overseas students have perhaps suffered most, as they often face strict deadlines and cannot enter the country to study without a valid Canadian student visa. A late visa can have a knock on effect, in some cases preventing a student from starting or completing a course of study.

However, pressure from Canadian universities has meant that Canadian student visas have been prioritised, and as the strike continues, this means that other Canadian visa applications are often being even more delayed.

What should I do?

The Canada immigration service has issued a statement saying that "Anyone applying for a visa should anticipate delays." If you are considering visiting Canada, whether as a tourist, a student or a worker, then you should:
  • Apply as early as possible
  • Prepare an electronic, not a paper application
  • Understand that listed processing times are now inaccurate
The strike affects many, but not all, of the offices of the Canada immigration service. Thanks to the strike, processing times now vary even more widely between offices, and it is important to select the best office to apply to, should you want your Canadian visa application to be processed in a timely manner. MoreVisas are a premier visa consultancy in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. You can consult us in person, by phone or email and we will apply our expertise to getting your Canada visa problem untangled as quickly as possible.

What's the dispute about?

Money. PAFSO (The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers) argues that its members, working outside Canada, are being paid less than staff doing equivalent jobs inside Canada. PAFSO says: "the union is seeking wage adjustments to keep Foreign Service officer pay in line with comparable employment groups in the federal government ... who perform the same work, often side-by-side with Foreign Service officers. At present, Foreign Service officers are paid $3,000 to $14,000 less per year."

The Canadian government, the employer in this case, rejects this claim on the basis that staff working in consulates receive a different package of benefits and this makes up for any difference in basic salary.

When will the Canadian visa strike be resolved?

At present, there is no clear end to the strike in sight.

Why are student visas being prioritised?

Canadian educational institutions welcome thousands of students from around the world. Students studying in Canada are estimated to bring over CAN $6.5 billion to the economy. Some educational institutions are seeing a decrease of up to 40% in the enrolment of overseas students, despite an increase in applications. Unable to get Canadian student visas in a timely fashion, students are looking elsewhere. As a result, these institutions have lobbied hard to ensure that student visas are processed efficiently, despite the limited staff availability.

The knock on effect of this is that there is less capacity for processing other visas, with the result that major cultural events, such as the Toronto Film Festival, are expressing concerns about the situation.

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Disclaimer - MoreVisas immigration service Pvt.Ltd. does not offer consulting on student visas/ Overseas jobs/work permits/international or domestic placements.
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