Immigration strike in Canada continues in its third month

The strike of Canadian visa official enters into its third month; at the same time, there are not any indications that the conflict will be resolved any time soon. Many foreign students at Canadian universities are about to have a disruption in their academic years because there will be delays in student visas application approvals. This time of the year is particularly bad to have delays because the academic semester is just about to begin.

The Canadian Immigration authorities are trying to alleviate the crisis by expediting applications for student visas and by encouraging foreign student to apply online. Online visa applications are processed by immigration staff in Canada and they are not on strike.  The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) began a series of strikes on June 6th 2013. PAFSO staff work in Canadian embassies and consulates around the world. The strike action began in six particularly busy locations; Shanghai, Beijing, Delhi, Chandigarh, Manila and Mexico City.

The position of PAFSO is that their colleagues that work in Canada receive higher salaries than those who are in Canadian embassies and consulates. According to the Canadian Government, staff in foreign locations is given a set of allowance that compensates for the lower basic pay. For now, the Canadian government refuses to make any compromises with the strike.

It claims that the demands for higher pay are unjustified and it will be unfair for Canadian taxpayers. PAFSO is attempting to force the government into arbitration to settle the dispute. A decision from the labour board on this request is expected shortly.

There is no resolution in sight at present. CIC has said that foreign offices are open with limited staff so some applications are being processed but students, in particular, are concerned about delays to the application process.


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