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Work Visa dilemma

My son paid a company $500+ at the end of February to fast-track his work visa in Canada. Five months later he is stuck there and still waiting for his visa. The company says it is not their fault and will not return his fee, but they have done nothing to ‘accelerate’ his application despite their promises of fast-tracking. With money rapidly depleting, and a daunting costly process if he returns he is in limbo.Anyone else had this problem?

From your post, I am assuming it was a Canadian business, not an Australian one.

As your son is residing in Canada at the moment I would suggest you point him to The Canadian Government’s complaint roadmap as a starting point.

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It was an Australian company, based in Sydney

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Have a look at The ACCC info on cancelling a service. At the bottom of the page is a link in blue to another page that tells you how to write your letter of complaint.

Be sure to provide as much factual information with evidence (copies of agreements, receipts, etc.) as possible to back up your complaint and request for a refund.

I would suggest that they may claim that they have undertaken some work to expedite the visa processing prior to the COVID crisis, and possibly since. If it comes to agreeing on an amount for a refund it may be easier to come to an agreement where they give you a partial refund to allow for work carried out.

If they continue to deny you any refund, you can approach the ACCC or your state consumer affairs organisation. Be aware that the ACCC will not help in individual cases, but it is worth reporting in case they get enough complaints against a business to warrant them acting.

Hope that helps.

Let us know how it goes.

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In the current COVID-19, the Canadian government has indicated that they are significant delays on the processing of visas for Canada…and currently priority is being given to

  • Canadians trying to return to Canada
  • vulnerable people
  • people who perform or support essential services

(see https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/check-processing-times.html)

It appears that the visa agency may be trying to the best of their endeavours to push the visa for approval with the Canadian authorities, but can’t due to significant delays in Canada (or Canadian authorities unwilling to process/issue visas not seen as essential). It is likely that even if he went to another agency, he would face the same issues in trying to get a visa issued in a timely manner.

I suggest that you sit tight and wait patiently until the situation returns to ‘normal’ in Canada for visa processing. At such time if the visa isn’t issued in usual time-frames, one could take this up with the Australian agency. Until such time, it is unlikely any application for a work visa will progress, no matter the pathway used to gain such a visa.

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In addition to @phb’s post, some reality is that no company can ‘fast track’ a visa anywhere bribery is not the norm or there is not significant political relationships and hence influence.

There have been some reports ‘connected employer’ au pairs were granted working visas into Australia quite quickly. Unless the company has similar connections in the Canadian government I doubt their ‘fast tracking’ claims were any more than knowing how to the paperwork correctly the first time.

If you are going to seek a refund, which does not solve any of the practical problems your son faces, you will need to demonstrate the claims of being able to ‘fast track’ a visa were misleading.

For normal workers and regular migrants once the paperwork goes into the immigration system it takes as long as it is going to take, and will not pop out with an approval (or denial) any more quickly, independent of country. An extended family member (US national) was a slam dunk for a working visa into NZ, they had an immigration lawyer and business sponsorship, and it still took about a year!

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In some countries one can pay a premium to have a visa application expedited. The Australian government (and many other government) charge heavily for the privilege.

Canada also fast tracks visas for some occupations (outside COVID-19 times)…information can be found here.

But if one hasn’t paid for the privilege (which would have been wasted money in the COVID-19 times as the Canadian government isn’t processing non-essential visas at the moment), the visa will be processed depending on the timeframes of the country in question.

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Fast track or prioritise? Is there a difference? Could be, or it could be semantics.

Regarding expedited service that would be a line item amount, akin to ‘express post’ vs standard post, so any particular company claiming to ‘fast track’ when it can be done for a fee would only be adding that amount to their own fees. They could indeed bundle it in, but it goes back to the paperwork (such as it is with whatever fee is paid) and it will take as long as it will take. Sometimes it is only applicable to the skills in shortage, and the OP’s son might fall into one such skill.

I guess it is the presentation how a visa company packages their service. One of the companies that pops up for ‘fast tracking visa’ states ‘Don’t be without your passport any longer than necessary by choosing VisaCentral’s Fast Track My Visa, the fastest speed of processing available to each country.’ The last few words are important because it can be a complex set of circumstances and skills that are the key, as much or more so than the fee.

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