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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Canada warns of delays as strike takes toll on international visa applications

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As the school year kicks off in Canada, many international students have been left waiting for visas, due to ongoing strike action of Canadian staffers stationed abroad.

In response to the backlog of applications, the government is warning anyone seeking temporary or permanent visas to expect delays and apply online as far in advance as possible.

For Qatar residents, the strike, which was launched in a bid to increase salaries, has impacted services at the two Canadian embassies that accept their applications: Kuwait and Dubai.

Though Canada opened an embassy in Qatar last year, it does not provide visa and passport services.

A notice on the Canadian government’s website states:

The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) union is currently taking strike action. PAFSO union members responsible for processing visa applications have been walking out of offices in Canada and overseas without advance notice…

Priority will be placed on urgent humanitarian applications.

It added that those who have already submitted paper applications should not resubmit them online.

Currently, Canadian embassies can only guarantee “a minimum level of service,” and have posted estimated processing times for its various missions abroad.

Notably, it would take an average of nine weeks for a complete application package to be processed in the UAE, where Canadian citizens living here must send their paperwork.

The times for Kuwait, where non-Canadians send their applications, are not listed, but delays should still be expected, the government said on its Kuwait page.

Have you tried to use Canadian consulate services lately? Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Jerry Bowley

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