As you are aware, many of Canada’s federal public servants went on strike on April 19. Given current public opinion and the political and economic climate of the country, Languages Canada is confident that a resolution will be reached soon and that the labour dispute will not cause an adverse impact on international students. However, we are concerned that inaccurate communications from government are impeding the public's understanding of the actual situation. The reality is that port of entry services continue as usual and that most visa processing is also uninterrupted. We encourage students to continue choosing Canada to pursue their English or French language studies.
While news reports have warned of increased delays in visa application processing, it is important to know that many IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) services are maintained during the strike.
- Study permit and visa applications can still be submitted to IRCC online or by mail;
- Canadian Visa Application Centers (VACs) around the world remain open and biometrics appointments continue as per usual;
- Visa application processing work done outside of Canada continues without interruption as those workers are not involved in the strike; and,
- eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) processing is largely automated, therefore students travelling to Canada on eTAS are not impacted by the strike.
Languages Canada continues to be in contact with government, advocating for more solutions to minimize any impact on students from the strike, such as prioritizing student visa processing and requesting clear communication by government to reassure our partners abroad. We are also working with IRCC to gain more information on current processing resources in our top markets and to ensure student applications receive priority.
We take this opportunity to remind members and your partners that information on processing times on the IRCC website is historical (past backlog of applications) and not current. For example, at this time, the published historical processing time posted for Vietnam is 720 days, but current visas are actually being processed in three to four months.
We trust this comes as reassuring news as your students make study plans for the summer and beyond. Please direct your questions to Rachel Lindsey, Director of Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.