Canada opens application processing centre in Manila

Plan to increase immigration levels is part of its Indo-Pacific strategy

Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Calling it a way of getting the advantage in the “global race for talent,” Canadian Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said the centre will help achieve the country’s goal of welcoming a record number of newcomers to fuel economic growth.

“By expanding its presence overseas, Canada is making strategic investments, with the goal of bringing more people to Canada—whether to visit, study, work or immigrate permanently,” the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a press release.

Rechie Valdez, a Filipino-Canadian Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Streetsville, announced on behalf of the Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the opening of a new application processing centre in Manila, Philippines.

“Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy is crucial in addressing the impact of the region on Canadians, including the Filipino community. The opening of the new application processing centre in Manila is a strategic investment that will benefit Filipinos by providing more efficient processing of visas and supporting Canada’s planned increases to immigration levels. By expanding our presence overseas, we are committed to facilitating the immigration process for those who want to visit, study, work, or immigrate permanently to Canada,” Valdez said.

The newly opened centre is supported by 37 new employees in the Philippines, which IRCC said is “another example of Canada’s work to boost immigration processing, as we continue to promote greater diversity among those looking to visit, study, work and live in Canada.”

It also said that given the importance of the Indo-Pacific region and its impact on Canadians, a comprehensive and inclusive strategy is crucial to guide Canada’s actions. To this end, Canada is investing in fostering ties between Canadians and the region as part of its Indo-Pacific Strategy.

The new centre is located within Canada’s Embassy in Manila and the added capacity is part of Canada’s ongoing efforts to accommodate the high volume of visa applications from around the world, and will support ongoing efforts to also improve client service and help achieve Canada’s planned increases to immigration levels in the years to come.

“Canada is set to welcome a record number of newcomers in the years ahead to fuel our economic growth. This will give us an advantage in the global race for talent, and support key sectors and industries. Today’s announcement to open a new centre supported by 37 new employees in the Philippines is another example of Canada’s work to boost immigration processing, as we continue to promote greater diversity among those looking to visit, study, work and live in Canada,” Fraser said.

The development is coupled with the move of Provincial officials to recruit more health workers in the Philippines as an answer to the shortage in health workers.

Canada is also actively promoting its aim to lure more skilled workers to meet the gap.

“Canada and the Indo-Pacific share deep people-to-people ties, which are not only vast but expanding rapidly. This operations centre will help facilitate travel, attract highly skilled workers to Canada, and meet the needs of our economy today and in the future,” Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, also said.

Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan has set targets of 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.

IRCC already has visa offices in more than 50 locations in Canadian embassies, high commissions, and consulates around the world.

As part of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Government of Canada is investing $74.6 million over 5 years, and $15.7 million ongoing, to boost the department’s application processing capacity both domestically and in the Indo-Pacific region.

Ever-increasing people-to-people ties between Canada and the Philippines contribute to the growth of both societies. According to the 2021 census, 960,000 people of Philippine origin live in Canada, while a growing number of Filipino citizens visit family and friends in Canada, study at Canadian colleges and universities or immigrate to Canada, the IRCC’s statement also reads.

With diplomatic relations beginning in 1949, Canada and the Philippines will mark their 75th year of strong and friendly bilateral relations in 2024.

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