Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on Indian student visa backlog

It is not only Australia that is behind in processing student visas and grappling to clear the monument of backlog in that area, Canada is also facing similar problems. As many Western countries continue to struggle to get back to pre-COVID normal, hundreds of thousands of Indian international students in India have been left stranded.

Also read: University of Melbourne: 883 Indian international students received A$4.5 million in COVID support

The plight of India’s international students is so serious that the Indian government’s overseas offices – through High Commissions and Embassies – has had to advocate on their behalf.

India is the largest source country for Canada’s international postsecondary students.

Looking at the numbers of stranded students in India, the Indian government is now taking the problem seriously. A complaint from the Indian High Commission in Ottawa was lodged with the Canadian government.

Urging the local government to swing into action, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa has asked authorities to look into the matter of delayed visas and permits.

According to reports, officials in the Indian High Commission, Ottawa and Indian Consulates in Toronto and Vancouver have been exhorting the Canadian interlocutors including academic institutions and universities to rectify the situation.

“Highlighting these issues and the fact that Indian students have already deposited tuition fees with the Canadian institutions we requested the Canadian authorities to expedite processing of visa applications for students from India,” the advisory said.

This has led the Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser who has directed his department to shift focus toward tackling backlogs in student visa applications.

“We had been focusing over the course of the summer on processing as many work permits as possible to help address the labour shortage. We’ve made a pivot, and through the month of August, we expect that we’re going to process a little more than 104,000 additional study permits,” Fraser said.

“There has been an absolute explosion in demand when it comes to Canada’s International Student Program in recent years.”

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