This week’s report of Immigration news is full of information regarding visa processing backlogs, changes in Canada’s international student system, new foreign worker support systems, and more.
Indian visa processing backlog
The backlog/delay in Indian processing was acknowledged by Canada’s Immigration Department. Immigration minister Marc Miller recently announced that only 20,000 of 28,000 visas for Indians are expected to be processed by December 2023. This is caused by an issue of limited staff resources in India. The staff shortage is also leading to a backlog of about 17,500 Indian applications by the beginning of 2024. In-person services at Indian consulates are temporarily not available due to the staff reduction.
Canada helps employers with hiring foreign workers
The facilitating of skilled foreign workers in Canada was addressed. Randy Boissonnault, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, announced changes helping employers address important labor shortages through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Here are the changes:
- Through the TFWP, employers in these seven sectors may continue hiring up to 30% of workers in low wage positions: food manufacturing, wood product manufacturing, furniture and related product manufacturing, accommodation and food services, construction, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities
- Positions paid under the minimum wage will endure a two year cap on employment duration
- Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will go from an 18 month maximum to a 12 month maximum, decreasing validity
- Employers must hold annual wage reviews of foreign temporary workers to be sure they have correct wages
New international student support systems to be implemented
The plight of stressed-out international students in Canada was acknowledged. Marc Miller stated that postsecondary designated learning institutions (DLIs) will be required to verify acceptance letters of applicants through IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada). This precaution will be taken in order to protect future students from letter-of-acceptance fraud and help avoid similar fraud issues students have faced this year. It will also guarantee that the issuance of study permits is restricted to authentic letters of acceptance. IRCC is to set up a “recognized institution” in order to help postsecondary DLIs create higher standards for support and services directed at international students.
Major increase in asylum claims at airports after visa requirement changes
After Ottawa shut off an unofficial border crossing and changed requirements for visa applicants, Canada has been noticing an increase in asylum claims at airports. From January through September, CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) processed around 27,000 airport asylum claims. This is a 54% increase from 2022’s asylum claims at airports.
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Resources available for further research
Bains, S. – “IRCC Minister Announces New International Student Program Improvements” – Immigration News Canada – Oct 27, 2023
Delaire, M. – “Airports see surge in asylum claims after border, visa requirement changes” – CTV News – Oct 25, 2023
Moosapeta, A. – “Canada extends special measures to help employers hire more temporary foreign workers” – CIC News – Oct 26, 2023
Robitaille, Edana. – “Immigration Minister: Canada expects to process 20,000 Indian visas by the end of 2023” – CIC News – Oct 25, 2023