Exemption from medical exams, online immigration applications, and more application status trackers is on the horizon for newcomers to Canada.
On September 1, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser introduced new online services to Canada’s immigration system, aimed at improving the customer experience and reducing backlogs.
The pandemic highlighted the need for a modern immigration system. From the IRCC Processing Center in New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Fraser announced the latest update on how digitization is affecting operations in Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Here are new developments for newcomers and future citizens.
Certain applicants are exempt from medical examinations in Canada
In an effort to reduce wait times, Fraser is exempting permanent and temporary residency applicants who are already in Canada from the immigration medical exam requirement. This measure only applies to those who meet certain criteria. The media release did not specify the criteria, nor when the measure would take effect. IRCC expects this to affect about 180,000 new people.
Canada previously waived the medical exam requirement between June 2021 and March 2022.
The measure aims to further reduce wait times and hire 1,250 new employees to help increase processing capacity, the release said.
Immigration applications going 100% digital September 23
IRCC will begin the transition to 100% digital applications for most permanent residency programs from 23 September. Alternative formats will be available for those who need accommodation.
The Department of Immigration committed to digitizing immigration applications this past January. IRCC had earlier told CIC News in an email that it expects the online application portal to be fully implemented in the spring or summer of 2022.
More programs to keep app status trackers
By the spring of 2023, seven more permanent residency and temporary residency programs will have application status trackers such as the one launched in February for spouse, partner and dependent child sponsorship applicants. The Citizenship Application Status Tracker, launched for customers in May 2021, will be expanded to include access to representatives sometime this month.
Also, IRCC is improving its online processing time tool to provide more accurate information. Beginning in the fall, the IRCC will publish forward-looking estimates of how long it will take to process an application.
modernization of canadian citizenship
In August 2021, IRCC launched a tool that allows online submission of certain citizenship applications. The tool is open to allow groups of adults aged 18 and over to apply together. IRCC intends to expand this tool to offer online applications for minors below 18 years of age by the end of the year.
So far this year, Canada has exceeded its citizenship goals for 2021-2022, admitting more than 217,000 new citizens. So far this fiscal year, from April 1 to July 31, Canada has welcomed more than 116,000 new citizens, compared to 35,000 in the same period in 2021.
Over 300,000 new permanent residents in 2022 so far
In 2021, the IRCC set a historic record by admitting more than 405,000 new permanent residents to Canada. Our goal for 2022 is to welcome 431,000 permanent residents, and we are well on our way to achieving that. As of 22 August, Canada has welcomed more than 300,000 permanent residents to Canada, exceeding the milestone more than in any previous year.
“Immigration is about people. It’s about starting a new job, reuniting a family, and building a new life in this beautiful country that we call home,” Fraser said in the release. We are looking to strengthen our immigration system by updating our technology, the people—our customers—should be at the center of everything we do. By connecting resources where they are needed, and leveraging technology to speed up processing and make it easier for our customers, we can give newcomers and new citizens the welcoming experience they deserve. ,