In a recent press conference, Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller revealed a concerning development: visa processing times for Indians have slowed significantly. Senior officials from Canada have confirmed that a deliberate reduction in staff in India has led to a backlog of 17,500 applications across Canada’s immigration system. However, there is an expectation from the government that visa processing will return to normal by early 2024.
According to reports, 22 immigration staff members have been withdrawn from India and are relocating to Canada and the Philippines. In response, India has formally announced plans to revoke immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and their dependents in New Delhi. This move puts 41 Canadian diplomats and 42 dependents at risk of losing their immunities in India.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a statement asserting that revoking diplomatic privileges and immunities goes against international law and is deemed unreasonable. The IRCC also expressed concerns that the mass expulsion of diplomats will impact their operations, leading to delays in services for clients. Consequently, the IRCC has temporarily suspended all in-person services at consulates until further notice. Despite a reduced team from 27 to 5, the IRCC will continue to accept and process applications from India. The remaining staff will focus on urgent processing, visa printing, risk assessment, and oversight of key partners, including visa application centres, panel physicians, and clinics. However, the IRCC remains optimistic that operations in India will be back to normal early in the New Year.