A Quebec businessman risks losing a $3 million contract because the Canadian government is slow to issue visas.
“It’s terrible because we don’t know where we’re going,” laments Luc Harvey, president of Harvey Medical and former Louis-Hébert MP for the Conservative Party of Canada from 2006 to 2008.
Mr Harvey has signed a contract with a non-governmental organization in Uganda that will provide frontline medical care with Somalia via neighboring countries to refugees and the surrounding population.
This group wants to procure medical devices and generics “urgently” in order to supply the bush clinics, according to him.
Discussions with this partner were held in July 2021 and last February officials asked to visit suppliers in Quebec through Mr Harvey, a consultant in the field.
The delegation comprises a total of four people, including health workers.
Delays upon delays
In order to make things right and avoid unnecessary delays, the businessman enlisted the services of a Quebec attorney.
“Technically, all that remains is to print out the visas. I was promised it would be ready before the end of August. »
Two months later still no visa in sight; and Mr. Harvey fears collateral damage to his reputation.
“I have too much pressure from all sides. […] We are not talking about immigrants returning via Roxham Road. These are people who come here to spend money. »
“I make promises. Worse, I look like an idiot for suppliers. I’m losing credibility everywhere,” adds Mr. Harvey, helpless in the face of the situation.
The businessman no longer counts the steps taken with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to resolve these files, causing him to lose face. The attorney fees alone cost him $10,000.
“It’s a file that’s going to be very heavy and is costing me a lot of money and credibility. »
Mr. Harvey recently learned that his customers have been granted their visas to buy what they need in Switzerland instead of Canada. They got their visas in two weeks, he says.
If the game isn’t lost yet, the entrepreneur claims it’s midnight minus one.
IRCC recognizes that there are delays in processing all types of applications, including visitor visas.
“Due to the Department’s application backlog, despite our best efforts, we know that many applicants are experiencing significant wait times for their applications to be processed. We continue to do everything we can to reduce processing times,” said spokeswoman Isabelle Dubois.
Ten times more visa applications
- Over 746,000 visitor visa applications were issued by the Canadian government from January 1, 2022 to June 15, 2022, compared to 76,000 for the same period in 2021.
- The 2021 Economic and Tax Update allocated $85 million to reduce delays.
- Last August, Secretary Sean Fraser pledged to hire 1,250 new employees by the end of the fall to increase processing capacity and reduce last-minute delays.
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