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Canadian diplomats removed from India and the implications for immigration


Following the Indian government’s call for parity in the number of diplomats present in the two countries, Canada has confirmed the withdrawal of 41 of the 62 Canadian diplomats in India. With Indian nationals representing a large population of Canadian-bound foreigners, including 22% of work permit applications and 49% of study permit applications, the reduced personnel resources in India will likely lead to extended visa processing times.

While Canada has committed to continue welcoming Indian nationals and respecting the privileges of Indian diplomats in Canada, this situation may change if the India-Canada relationship strains further.

How are immigration services abroad impacted?

The Canadian High Commission and Canadian Consulates in India are committed to providing core services, but with only one-third of their usual staff, services will be at reduced capacity. Processing times will be impacted, but cases will be reassigned at the global level to minimize the impact on businesses seeking foreign workers and on international students, in particular.

With the Digital Platform Modernization program, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has reassured the public that it is well-positioned to manage its global resources so that those on the ground in India can focus on urgent cases. 89% of cases from India are already processed at other offices; IRCC expects this number to increase given the current climate. For international students expected to enter Canada in January 2024, IRCC has already decided to distribute those cases across its global network. As a result, there is a possibility that increased processing times will be seen across the globe and within Canada.

In-person services, such as risk assessments and in-person interviews for applications such as spousal sponsorships will be more challenging with the decreased Canadian resources in India. IRCC is considering online interviews for sensitive humanitarian cases, though this option may be difficult for vulnerable clients.

How BDO can help

The Immigration Services team at BDO Law will be carefully following the developments in India-Canada relations. As the situation continues to progress, we will provide further updates as they become available.

In the meantime, should you have any questions about the impacts of these events, please contact BDO Law’s Immigration Services team at [email protected].

The information in this publication is current as of Nov. 9, 2023

This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The publication cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO Canada LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO Canada LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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