Canada’s Immigration System Gets An Update
In today’s blog update, we will look at the new plans for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, recently spoke in Vancouver about IRCC continuing work to decrease application backlogs, enhance client experience, and address the issue of shortages of labour.
As an immediate action, IRCC has announced that it will hire up to 1,250 new employees by late fall in order to accelerate the processing capacity and lessen the backlog, while also making efforts to make the system more efficient for the long term. IRCC says the new recruits will decrease the wait period for applications and allow for new applications to be processed at pre-pandemic levels, including the standard of service of six months for Express Entry programs.
Record Numbers Processed Between January To July 2022:
In 2021, IRCC welcomed 405,000 new permanent residents to Canada, with a target of 431,000 for 2022 based on the Immigration Levels Plan. As of yet in 2022, 275,000 new permanent residents have arrived between January 1 to July 31. In the same period, 349,000 new work permits have been awarded, which includes 220,000 open work permits (OWP). An OWP will allow permit bearers to work anywhere in Canada in most professions.
There was also a rise in study permit applications, with 360,000 permits completed so far in 2022. There has been an increase of 31 per cent from the total number of study permits granted over the same period in 2021.
IRCC To Publish Backlog Data Monthly:
IRCC says that processing delays have been worsened due to Canada’s response to humanitarian crises and upgrading to better technology to fulfill current demands. Per the IRCC report, at the end of July, almost 54 per cent of applications in the system were there longer than the usual service standard, and overall lines of business. IRCC says it is focusing on processing 80 per cent of new applications within their service norms.
While acknowledging the backlog, IRCC stated that it will publish monthly data on their website and share more details in the coming weeks on additional steps being undertaken to enhance the current system.
What Are The Reasons For This Immigration Backlog?
IRCC’s backlog tripled during the pandemic. Per the IRCC data of mid-July, the backlog reached 2.7 million applications. But, more recent data published by IRCC indicates the backlog has declined to some 2.4 million applications.
IRCC has also given an update on how the department determines the backlog. Their website notes that applications processed within their service standards are not considered as backlog. Applications that exceed the service standards are counted towards the backlog.
IRCC’s service standards are the criteria which the department sets for every line of business. For example, Express Entry has a service standard of six months for permanent residence applications.
According to the newly added webpage on the IRCC website, 47 percent of the current 639,500 permanent residence applications are being processed within their service standards.
Meanwhile, 41 percent of 1.4 million temporary residence applications are within their service standards, and some 65 percent of the some 379,000 citizenship applications are being processed within IRCC’s service standards.
The department aims to process 80 per cent of applications within its service standards. The new webpage added to the IRCC website contains estimates on when the department expects to be able to achieve this goal across its different lines of business. For example, it anticipates achieving this goal for Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program, and the Spouses, Partners, and Children’s Program by the year’s end.
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