Hundreds of thousands of applications for Canadian visas are likely to be affected by a backlog in the system which could lead to rejection, it is claimed.
Over 300,000 applications from around the world could be affected, according to migration expert Visafirst due to a huge backlog for Federal skilled visa applications.
Canadian immigration officials have said that due to the huge build up, any submissions made before February 2008 that have yet to be processed are likely to be returned to the applicants and their cases closed.
Visafirst says this is potentially disastrous for those who applied during this period as most of these applicants will no longer qualify due to changes which have subsequently been made to the eligible list of occupations for the federal skilled visas.
‘The eligible list of occupations is now so limited that there is no question that a huge number of visa applicants will be affected but we won’t know to what extent until sometime around the end of July. Overall it is estimated that over 300,000 cases will be closed,’ said Edwina Shanahan, manager director of Visafirst.
Shanahan believes that while it is understandable that the Canadian immigration department wants to streamline the application process, the way they are going about it is unfair and will have a very harsh impact on those affected.
‘With such a shortage of a skilled labour force in Canada it appears counterproductive for the Canadian Government to make this move and those who have waited years for this visa will definitely feel hard done by. I would hope that the Government’s goal to introduce a smoother running and efficient application process will be achieved and that these visa applicants will not have suffered in vain,’ she explained.
Visafirst says that those whose cases are likely to be closed will need to secure employment immediately, as they will then be eligible to apply for a different type of work visa.
‘We are currently in talks with numerous Canadian employers who are looking for skilled employees from the British labour market, for example. Those with a job offer can travel into Canada with their family on a Canadian work permit. Once you are working a year and have continuous work then you can look at your options for a permanent resident visa,’ Shanahan added.
The new quota for the federal skilled visa will open on 01 July with 10,000 permanent visas for skilled occupations. Those who are eligible should get their applications ready to lodge or re-lodge as soon as possible. These applications do not need a job offer to apply. Once the quota is reached all further applications will need job offers.