Canada visa backlog: 700,000 Indians wait for their papers to be processed

Jun 19, 2022 12:00 PM IST

The worldwide backlog has ballooned to nearly 2.4 million including 700,000 Indians, according to watchdog CIC News. The processing backlog has grown since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic

TORONTO: From former F1 driver Karun Chandhok to executives at public sector undertakings to ordinary visitors, a long Canadian immigration and visa backlog is preventing many from travelling to the country.

Travellers at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Bloomberg/FILE)
Travellers at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Bloomberg/FILE)

The worldwide backlog has ballooned to nearly 2.4 million, according to watchdog CIC News. And India is among the most affected nations, accounting for over a quarter of those pending cases, at approximately 700,000.

Stay tuned with breaking news on HT Channel on Facebook. Join Now

Chandhok, who is now a television motorsports analyst, was supposed to travel to Canada for the Montreal Grand Prix this weekend. However, despite applying for a renewal of his 10-year visitor visa, which expired in December last year, his paperwork has not yet been processed. He told the Canadian outlet National Post from London, where he is now based, “In the past, it’s never been a problem - you apply and three weeks later, you get your visa and away you go.”

That processing backlog has grown since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Among those to suffer due to the state of affairs were executives from PSUs like Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India and National Aluminum Company, who were due to visit Toronto for the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference 2022 (PDAC), held on June 13 and 14. They were part of a 10-strong delegation from India, but the visa snafu forced the group to pull out of what is the world’s premier mineral exploration and mining convention. While exactly how many couldn’t secure a visa isn’t clear, those associated with coordinating their visit confirmed that was the main reason for the absence.

There are others like Gaurav, a Delhi-based financial advisor, who applied for a visitor visa to attend a family wedding in Canada. That application was submitted in December, Gaurav (who requested only his first name to be used), told the Hindustan Times. The online update states his file is being reviewed.

The Canadian government is well aware of this situation. It is planning an infusion of 85 million Canadian dollars ($65.16 million) to reduce the application inventory and hire more staff. A team from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also expected to travel to India soon to try and resolve issues related to delays.

But the current situation “has impacted a lot of people”, Manu Datta, director of the firm ICC Immigration, which is based in the Greater Toronto Area town of Mississauga, said. He doesn’t expect processing to return to normal in the near future. “It will be felt for another year or so,” he said.

As for Gaurav, he’s almost sure to miss the wedding, but he asked, “What if someone has a family emergency? How will they go? I think there’s a failure in the system.”

Get Latest World News along with Latest News from India at Hindustan Times.

    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, December 11, 2023
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now