Striking diplomats a roadblock for international students
A strike by workers at Canada's foreign visa centres and embassies has lead some international students to defer their studies because they couldn't get study permits. The University of B.C. campus Aug. 14, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
No more teachers or books could result in a lot of dirty looks as the strike by Canada’s foreign service workers causes international students to defer their studies due to visa delays.
Canada’s embassy staff and foreign visa processing centres have been on strike since the start of the summer, looking for more money and better working conditions.
Now it appears the job action has caused some students to cancel plans to study in Vancouver.
Douglas College spokesman David Taylor said many students have deferred their courses because they weren’t able to get study permits in time.
“We’ve been made aware of about 40 to 50 students who are definitely deferring to January,” said Taylor. “But the deadline isn’t until the end of next week.”
Taylor said there’s fear that up to 20% of the school’s foreign students may end up doing the same thing by the time the deadline passes.
Currently, Douglas has about 1,100 international students paying about $6,000 per semester to attend the school.
“It’s a short-term hit, but obviously something we need to see resolved as soon as possible,” Taylor said.
The situation is the same at the University of B.C., where international students pay $23,000 per term to study.
Hakan Bjorn, UBC director of recruitment for Asia and Europe, said about 30 of the school’s 9,000 foreign students don’t think they will be issued their study permit in time to attend.
“There still is time, so what we’re doing is working with these students on a case-by-case basis to see if we can assist them arriving in January instead,” said Bjorn.
Nancy Caron, of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said in an email additional staff at foreign bureaus have been hired temporarily to ease the backlog, but people should always apply for visas as early as possible.
Caron also said those who cannot apply early should include a letter from their educational institution to be considered by visa officers.