10 April 2012

Facebook protest against Canada visa backlog policy

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A proposed policy to reduce the Canada visa backlog by returning all applications made before 2008 has sparked outrage among some applicants who have taken to Facebook to make their protest known.

Canada visa

Canadian visa applicants who have had their applications returned have taken to Facebook to promote their cause.

As part of its Budget last month, the Canadian government announced that it would be returning all Canada visa applications to the Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) programme made before 2008 in an effort to streamline the application system and cut the backlog of applications down to a manageable amount.

The announcement was part of the Canadian immigration reform promised by the immigration minister, Jason Kenney, whose many promises and statements regarding the issue have frequently proved controversial.

However, it would seem as Mr Kenney may have gone even further this time as unhappy applicants who have seen their applications sit in a bureaucratic limbo for the past four or five years only to have them cancelled have taken to the Internet to protest the cause.

The page, 'Prospective Canadian Immigrants', has over 250 members and hopes to bring together affected applicants in order to raise awareness of the situation and bring the issue to Mr Kenney's attention.

Many of the page's members are from Ludhiana in the Indian state of Punjab which has a long history of citizens moving to Canada.

"We are well aware of the reach of the Internet and also that it has the ability to reach the deaf ears of the Canadian government. This is the reason a page has been created on Facebook and a large number of people are joining us every day, not only from Punjab but from almost all Asian countries," said Rakesh Kumar Garg, one of the page's members.

The reform of the Canadian immigration system has focussed on prioritising those applicants who have valuable skills needed in the Canadian labour market and has frequently used slogans promoting the need for young, skilled migrants; a point the Facebook page is using to promote their cause.

"It seems as we are being punished for trusting Canada blindly," wrote Ranbir Batish, one of the page's members. "Since we planned to settle in Canada our lives have come to a standstill today."

"The honourable minister wants the youth to come, but he forgot that we were also young when we had applied and if our cases are delayed it is not our fault."

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.

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