Last Updated On 26 April 2023, 9:50 AM EDT (Toronto Time)
Today, IRCC strike as part of the PSAC union’s strike enters day 6 causing severe impacts on processing of immigration and visa applications.
With IRCC full time and long term employees going on strike on April 19, immigration and visa application processing has been halted.
This strike continues as we speak this week too with no clear resolution of the demands between union and Canadian government.
IRCC has been struggling with backlog since the pandemic, but progress was being made in reducing the backlog, before the strike hit.
As of March 31, 2023 backlogged applications dropped below 900K for the first time with huge number of applications under processing.
|March 31, 2023||896,300||2,017,700|
|February 28, 2023||910,400||1,962,600|
|January 31, 2023||974,600||1,944,500|
|December 31, 2022||918,300||1,973,800|
|November 30, 2022||1,086,200||2,111,400|
|October 31, 2022||1,202,790||2,239,700|
|September 30, 2022||1,322,500||2,610,700|
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IRCC strike is not just affecting the immigration and visa applicants, rather it is causing country-wide affect on tourism and labour availability for small businesses, given the amount of dependency on immigrants in Canada.
Citizenship events have already been canceled and will be rescheduled after the IRCC strike ends.
Immigration minister clearly stated that strike will have severe impact on applications processing and they will be using international networks to process emergency cases.
However, new applicants will be able to submit their applications online and by mail, but minimal to no processing will be done until or unless it is an emergency situation.
As a result, these new applications will also accumulate into the existing processing inventory and we expect that backlog will swell up again beyond 1 million mark.
The department has mentioned on their official website to expect processing delays during the workforce interruption because of IRCC strike, due to the limited capacity.
This includes delays for applications that are presently being given priority, such as those submitted by clients who were affected by the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.
With IRCC strike, the progress made among all the business lines has been severely affected. Let’s acknowledge that damage has already been done by the strike, even if resolves today.
Applicants are just awaiting decision on their applications under processing, but with ongoing IRCC strike and knowing their application is not being processed is causing severe mental stress.
Lahara Nanda, an international student who recently graduated and applied for get her work authorization (Post Graduation Work Permit) says that she is at risk to leave Canada, if she doesn’t get her work permit in time.
Yasmine Ezazi, Canadian citizenship applicant is directly affected by IRCC strike. She cleared her citizenship test is now stalled at last step of taking the oath of citizenship ceremony.
Furthermore, family sponsorship applicants already facing processing delays and staying away from their loved ones will have to wait even longer.
Sooner or later IRCC strike will end, but immigration minister needs to proactively consider aftermath of the strike and prepare for steps to deal with it, rather than just pointing out strike as reason for new backlog.
Reforms to existing immigration programs by removing the conventional “vestigial” requirements that no longer fits into today’s world is now needed more than ever.
On one occasion, PM Justin Trudeau acknowledged that visitor visa requirement of proving that your parents will return back to their home country, should be taken lightly by IRCC. Rather he wants the parents to stay together for support.
Similarly, processing of applications for other categories such as spousal sponsorship should be more streamlined, rather than tedious.
Spousal sponsorship has service standard of 12 months which seems a long time to keep the couples apart as it may result in breakdown of such relationships.
Economic immigration programs such as Express Entry is also facing delays and strike will deteriorate it further as well as strike will definitely affect upcoming rounds of invitations.
More clarity is needed from the immigration minister on strategy to deal with processing delays because of strike, rather than just acknowledging that applicants should expect delays.