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There were several important news releases in the month of October which may affect those seeking temporary or permanent status in Canada. The following is a summary of such:

Physician Pilot Project: In an effort to stem a shortage of qualified physicians in certain communities in Ontario, that provincial government and CIC have implemented a one-year pilot project aimed at selecting foreign doctors who will train in Canada and may then become eligible for Canadian licensing. Of the 1700 doctors notified already, 40 will be selected for assessment. If the project works, the goal may be to fill the positions for 1000 doctors in Ontario.

The assessment project is the culmination of a three-year review by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Overseas Centralization Imaging Pilot Project: Similar to the recent Centralized Processing project, this program intends to test the feasibility of administrative processing of applications within Canada, while digital images of documentation are sent to visa offices abroad for assessment. The new pilot project will last from October 1, 2001 to March 31st, 2002 and will be limited to family class applications from India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Reduced Visa Operations in Islamabad: As a result of the military operations in the area, CIC has announced that visa processing in Islamabad has been reduced. A processing hierarchy has been determined on the basis of urgency, while some visas have been suspended.