In a recent news release, CIC reported on impressive visa processing statistics for India (where I write this blog post from). Among other items discussed by our Minister of State for Multiculturalism, the Hon. Tim Uppal cited the following:
- The number of visitor visas issued in 2013 represents an increase of 73% since 2008.
- The number of study permits represents an increase of more that 321% since 2008.
- Between January and December of 2013, 2,793 visas were issued under the Business Express Program
- The July 2011, the duration of multiple-entry visas was extended from five to ten years, has also facilitated travel to Canada from India.
So this is all good news for visitors and students. But it does not address the current backlogs and difficulties being encountered with respect to processing delays and lengthy audits on the foreign worker front. Pending LMOs are continuing to be held up indefinitely in some cases, and when filed, audits are being triggered much more frequently than in the past. And with the new LMO forms, company representatives will question whether they can even bind their organizations to the terms and conditions warranted. As for the developments on the LMO-exempt front, we are stillawaiting the outcome of the intra-company transfer consultations that were held this summer (see blog report here). In the most recent round of consultations with Minister Alexander on December 18 and a Q&A I hosted with him the evening before, we heard that the changes contemplated are still before cabinet, and ongoing concerns with the TFW Program.