Canadian visa services continuing

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MANILA, Philippines—The Canadian Embassy in Manila on Thursday assured the public that its visa services continue despite earlier reported disruptions due to a widespread strike of its foreign service workers.

In a statement posted on its website late Thursday afternoon, the Canadian government confirmed reports that personnel handling visa applications were among those participating in a global strike of Canada’s Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (Pafso) union.

“Contingency plans are already in place to ensure all offices remain open and are providing at least a minimum level of service,” the alert read.

The embassy said processing times of applications for temporary and resident visas “do not take into account work stoppages.”

“Priority will be placed on urgent humanitarian applications. We continue to monitor the situation,” the embassy said.

Visa applicants in Manila reported service delays and disruptions earlier this month after personnel at Canada’s visa center took part in Pafso’s worldwide strike.

The union last week initiated work stoppages in at least 15 of the biggest Canadian outposts around the world, including Manila, amid a pay dispute with the government.

The strike started just weeks after Canada opened new visa application centers in Manila and Cebu City in a bid to make its services more accessible to Filipinos.

Previously, Canadian visa applications were centralized at the embassy.—Tarra Quismundo

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