New Delhi, October 27, 2023: As per Canadian media reports Immigration Minister Marc Miller said there were now only five members to do the on-the-ground visa work in India.
According to the news published in The Tribune, Canada has said it will only be able to process only half of Indian visas due to the shortage of staff after nearly two-thirds of its diplomatic staff here were expelled for allegedly interfering in India’s internal affairs.
Of the 38,000 visas for Indians, Canada will be able to process only 20,000 by the end of December due to recent reduction of staff on the ground, Miller told a meeting of the Canadian Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration this week.
The staff of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which processes the visa applications, now has just five members in India as against its earlier strength of 27 after India sought diplomatic parity. Most of the expelled staff has now been relocated to Canada and the Philippines.
As a result when the new year opens, there will be about 17,500 Indian applications in the backlog. Canadian officials, however, conveyed to Parliamentarians that normal processing for Indian applications should resume by early 2024.
Some of this would be achieved by adjusting the workload for Visa Application Centres (VACs), many of which are not located in India, while the five staffers left in India will carry out urgent processing, visa printing and risk assessment, the IRCC had said in a statement last week.
India, partially resumed visa services in Canada from October 26 after these were suspended amid deteriorating diplomatic ties.
IRCC has also temporarily suspended all in-person services at consulates in India, although applications from India will still be accepted and processed.