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Canada has not canceled work visas for Indian skilled workers

False WhatsApp message claims Canada has canceled work visas for Indian skilled workers and given them to Pakistani workers instead

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Claim: Canada has cancelled 28,000 work visas for skilled workers coming from India to Canada due to recent tensions between the two countries and has decided to issue these work visas to Pakistani skilled workers instead.

Fact: There is no evidence to support the claim. The Canadian government and immigration authorities have not made any such announcements or policy changes. Media reports and immigration experts suggest that Canada is still processing visa applications from Indian nationals as usual.

On 1 October 2023, Soch Fact Check received a WhatsApp forward message claiming that Canada took a drastic step to cancel 28,000 work visas for skilled workers from India and gave them to Pakistani workers instead. The WhatsApp message contained an image of a Pakistani passport next to a visa application and a Canadian flag, with a caption stating the claim under question.

Fact or Fiction?

To verify the claim that Canada has cancelled work visas for Indian skilled workers and issued them to Pakistani skilled workers instead, we searched the web for any official announcement or statement from the Canadian government or immigration authorities on this matter. We could not find any confirmed source suggesting that Canada has made any changes to its visa policy for Indian nationals. 

On the contrary, several sources indicate that Canada is still accepting and processing visa applications from Indian nationals as per normal. For instance, CICnews, a leading Canadian immigration website, reported on 23 September 2023 that there has been no indication that Canada will stop processing visas for Indian nationals, that it is still accepting new applications as well as extending existing ones. According to the website, David Cohen, a senior partner at Campbell Cohen Canadian Immigration Law Firm, confirmed, “Canada has not announced any changes to its immigration policies or procedures for Indian nationals. Canada remains open to welcoming immigrants from India and all over the world.”

Similarly, the Deccan Herald, an Indian news outlet, reported on 16 October 2023 that a vast majority of Canadian visa applicants receive a visa, citing interviews with candidates, teaching centres and immigration specialists. The report also stated that visa acceptance rates have gone up in the past month despite the diplomatic row between the two countries.

Therefore, there is no evidence to support the claim that Canada has cancelled work visas for Indian skilled workers and issued them to Pakistani skilled workers instead. The claim also contradicts official sources and media reports.

Political background

The claim has surfaced during an ongoing diplomatic dispute over the killing of a prominent Sikh leader in British Columbia. The dispute began in September 2023, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Canadian agencies were investigating whether agents of the Indian government were behind the murder of Jagmeet Singh Dhaliwal, a former member of parliament and leader of the New Democratic Party, who was shot dead outside his home on 18 September 2023. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi denied any involvement and called Trudeau’s allegations “baseless and irresponsible”.

On the same day, India’s visa processing centres in Canada suspended services, citing “operational reasons”, effectively blocking Canadians from getting Indian visas. Many speculated that this was a tit-for-tat move by India to express its displeasure over Trudeau’s remarks. Therefore, this claim may be based on the premise that Canada is retaliating against India by suspending its visa services. However, when asked outright if Canada would reciprocate, Trudeau said his focus was to maintain the rule of law in Canada and that Canada would continue to do the work it took to keep Canadians safe.

Virality

The claim has been widely circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, potentially misleading many people in both India and Pakistan who may be seeking the Canadian work visa. We also found the same claim on Facebook here.

Conclusion: The Canadian government and immigration authorities have not announced or initiated any changes to their official visa application or processing policies for Indian applicants. On the contrary, media reports and immigration experts suggest that Canada is processing visa applications from Indian nationals as usual and that visa acceptance rates have not declined.

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com 

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