January 12, 2024

IRCC Anticipates Full Recovery of India Visa Processing by Early 2024

In a recent press conference on October 19th, 2023, Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller addressed concerns related to the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Canada and India and its implications for visa processing, especially for Indian applicants. While this dispute has caused some disruption, it's crucial to understand the bigger picture of its impact and the strategies in place to manage these challenges.

The Anticipated Backlog and Recovery Timeline

The reduced staff presence in India is expected to result in a backlog of approximately 17,500 "final decisions" across Canada's global immigration system over the next two months. However, the government is optimistic that visa processing times will return to normal by "early 2024." This restoration of processing speed largely depends on the 22 immigration staff members who have been temporarily withdrawn from India, as they are set to reintegrate into the system in both Canada and the Philippines.

Exploring the Causes of Slower Visa Application Processing

The primary factor behind the slower processing of visa applications is India's decision to revoke diplomatic immunities for nearly all Canadian diplomats and their dependents in New Delhi by October 20th, 2023. This action affects 41 Canadian diplomats and 42 dependents, potentially exposing them to the removal of diplomatic privileges and immunities.

IRCC has strongly criticized India's move, arguing that it violates international law and is an unreasonable and escalatory step. These diplomats had been accredited by India, and they were working diligently for the benefit of both countries. The mass expulsion of diplomats has been identified as the principal cause of the operational disruption and the impairment of client services.

Impact on Various Operations

In light of these challenges, IRCC has announced the temporary suspension of all in-person services at Canadian Consulates in India until further notice. However, this doesn't mean a complete halt to visa application processing. IRCC will continue to accept and process visa applications from India, but certain application requirements will need to be completed locally or on-site in a secure environment.

The reduction in the IRCC team's size in India, from 27 to just five, is expected to impact service standards for residents of India. The remaining IRCC staff in India will prioritize tasks requiring an in-country presence, such as urgent processing, visa printing, risk assessment, and the oversight of key partners, including visa application centers, panel physicians, and clinics conducting immigration medical exams. The rest of the work and staff will be redistributed across IRCC's global processing network.

Navigating the Impact on Visa Application Centers (VACs)

To mitigate the impact of reduced staff in India, IRCC has made strategic adjustments to the workload of Visa Application Centers (VACs), which already handle the majority of applications from India. These centers are operated by third-party service providers and will continue to operate without significant disruption. Applicants will still be able to receive administrative support, submit their passports, and provide biometrics at one of IRCC's ten centers in India.


The ongoing diplomatic dispute between Canada and India has unquestionably presented challenges for visa processing, resulting in an anticipated backlog of final decisions. The reduction in diplomatic staff and the necessary operational adjustments have impacted client services and the work of IRCC teams in India. However, both governments remain committed to resolving the issue, and with concerted efforts to mitigate its effects, there's hope that visa processing for Indian applicants will regain its usual efficiency by early 2024. In the meantime, VACs in India play a pivotal role in ensuring a streamlined application process for those aspiring to immigrate to Canada. This situation, though challenging, is a temporary hurdle on the path to fulfilling Canadian dreams.

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