Visa Officer Strike Is Over2013-09-28
After dragging on for months – finally – the six month rotating strike of visa officers at Canadian consulates is over. The battle was mainly over higher wages and the government struck a deal with visa officers for a higher wage scale.
The visa officers had taken the government to the Public Service Labour Relations Board which ruled the government had negotiated in bad faith. After that ruling, they made a deal. Visa officers got higher wages in return for giving up voluntary severance pay.
However, the damage has been done to the immigration system. There is a huge backlog of cases. For example, permanent residency applications are taking twice as long now to process as they did before the strike. Student visas were so delayed that some students dropped their education programs in Canada and didn’t bother registering.
The government says it will take “months” to clear the backlog of files, so if you were waiting for a decision on your file during the strike, you’ll likely to continue to wait as the visa officers get back to work and the backlog slowly gets whittled down.
I have clients waiting to enter Canada who should have been processed weeks ago. I’m hopeful that soon the acceptance letters and requests for passports will start rolling in.
If you have any strike stories to share, please do so in the comments.