Foreign Service Workers Union Expands Strike to 15 Largest Visa Centres

Foreign service staff have been reduced at 15 Canadian visa offices overseas, including the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom, pictured above (GOOGLE MAPS)

The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO), the union for Canadian diplomats, has withdrawn some of its members from the 15 largest foreign Canadian visa processing centres in order to pressure the government to come to a deal on their pay dispute.

The strike is affecting visa and immigration services at Abu Dhabi, Ankara, Beijing, Cairo, Delhi/Chandigarh, Hong Kong, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, Paris, Riyadh, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai, though visas are continuing to be issued, and permanent residency applications processed, at a slower pace.

Talks between PAFSO and the federal government broke down after PAFSO rejected the government’s offer to enter into binding arbitration on the condition that PAFSO agree that one of its main arguments would not be considered during arbitration.

The argument the Treasury Board wanted to be left unconsidered is the claim that foreign service officers are paid lower salaries than public servants working in similar positions in other divisions of the federal government.

The federal government says that since foreign service officers receive a foreign-living allowance, and the positions are highly sought after by Canadians, the deal it has offered is fair to both the union and the rest of the Canadian population which has to pay for their salaries.

The government also sees the use of a strike as an attempt to blackmail the government by withholding an economically vital service, and is reluctant to reward the strike with concessions.

For its part, PAFSO says that it has been left with no choice but to strike as the government has refused to enter into binding arbitration without unreasonable preconditions, and that the cost of meeting its demands would cost Canada only $4.2 million, which is much less than what it says is hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tourism and foreign study income that has resulted from the strike.

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8 comments

  • GEORGE SEBASTIAN A.M

    helo sir /madam

    am applied a work permit to Canada but now effecting a strike all over the world of Canada embassy any idea about when will end this strike

  • I applied for my husband from canada. And my file is in india delhi office any idea, how long it will take more. And when will this strike end up. Please let me know.thanks

  • What is the affect of the strike on the application received for FSWP after 04th May’13? who will process the files?

  • i had submitted my FSWP file which was received by CIC canada on 05th June’13, but till date I have not received any updates. By what time can i expect any updates from CIC if any? What is the affect of strike on file processing under FSWP?

  • This is absolutely ridiculous! The Canadian government should make provisions for not letting the strike affect the visa applications which have to be processed. It is quite surprising that it has been so long and still its continuing without any action being taken.

  • “How come the strike happens and possible in Canadian High Commission all over the world” Saying entire world and entire world paying attention towards the Canada. It’s amazing and wonderful that Canadian employees are under strike since three months and Canadian government is just looking so its a shameful because the entire world is watching that how come it happens in the North America. Government should be very responsible to send them in work either by fulfilling their demands or by the force as soon as possible otherwise nobody trust the Canada.

  • when’ll the embassy strike ends?

  • sir/ma’am
    will the strike delay the usual “5months processing time” for working visa application to “6 months and so on…? my med results been passed to the Canadian Embassy last July 03, 2013. i’ve checked the processing time for working visa here in Manila is 5 months. any idea when the strikes end? the sooner the strikes end, the better. i just hope and pray i will be over soon…

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