OPINION: Here are 6 recommendations to get Canada’s immigration operations back on track.
Earlier this month the Canadian Parliament’s standing committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) began a study on IRCC’s application process times and backlogs.
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The purpose of CIMM is to produce oversight of the immigration system and release studies that contain recommendations for improvement. CIMM invited me to Ottawa to participate during this study, that I did on may 5th. i might prefer to use this text as a chance to elaborate on my recommendations.
The backlog has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic to 2.1 million people. This includes applicants for permanent residence, temporary residence, and citizenship. needless to say, the backlog is hurting Canada’s economy, keeping families apart, and undermining Canada’s ability to produce humanitarian help to those in need.
There is no doubt the pandemic has been a major contributor to the backlog. At the beginning of the pandemic, Canadian government employees required to work remotely that restricted their ability to process applications. However, the pandemic isn’t the sole reason for the backlog, and at the terribly least, the pandemic cannot justify why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has delivered such poor customer service for over 2 years now.
The following are six steps I feel will help improve the state of Canadian immigration operations.
1) Treat applicants with bigger respect
The first step Canada must desire avoid backlogs from obtaining out of management once more within the future is by treating all of its immigration candidates with way more respect. once we discuss backlogs, we regularly rely on the quantity of files within the queue, and typically we tend to forget about the quantity of human lives that are being negatively affected.
Taking a additional human-centric approach to our immigration system could be a necessary step towards progress. there’s no justification for IRCC going months or maybe years on finish while not responding to enquiries from its clients. the lack of urgency to produce updates conjointly explains why there has been a scarcity of urgency to process applications.
For some reason, we do not see immigration candidates as worthy enough of obtaining quality client service, even though IRCC contains a legal mandate to process applications. it’s solely honest that candidates get quality service given they’re needed to pay IRCC a fee for his or her papers to be processed. Imagine however upset you’d be if you paid a postal company to deliver a parcel, solely to get they need however to ship it and aren’t responding to any of your calls or emails.
Just like companies putting customers front and center of everything they are doing, therefore too ought to IRCC. each call the department makes ought to be through the lens of providing the most effective customer experience possible.
2) Align intake with process capability
The second step is for Canada to do a better job of orienting its intake with its process capability. we tend to already do that with varied programs like IRCC’s economic class pilots, the parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), the Provincial nominee Program (PNP), among others. Federal and provincial governments work within the confines of the allocation for a given program and guarantee they are doing not solicit additional applications than they’re capable of process at intervals the allocation. this is not an ideal model and sometimes results in disappointment, as is that the case with the PGP, however at a similar time it helps United States limit the potential for excessive process times.
IRCC created many major mistakes at the beginning of the pandemic that has created the backlog abundant worse. It continuing to solicit applications even once its process capability was slowed, that means that it had a large mountain to climb once its processing capacity began to come back to normal.
For instance, express Entry was launched in 2015 to assist avoid backlogs by solely inviting candidates that IRCC wished to process. nonetheless, we tend to saw our specific Entry backlog skyrocket since IRCC continuing to ask candidates throughout 2020, before realizing it required to implement 2 major pauses in December 2020 then in September 2021 to manage its express Entry inventory. this could are avoided altogether if IRCC merely reduced its express Entry invitations in 2020 till its operations got in on track.
Unfortunately, IRCC created a similar mistake in 2021 by initial, continued to issue terribly high levels of express Entry invitations, then second, by welcoming 90,000 extra applications under the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (“TR2PR”) Program. in keeping with the Immigration Levels plan 2022-2024, it’ll currently take IRCC 2 additional years to catch abreast of all those applications before it will bring its economic class programming back to normal by 2024. Moving forward, IRCC ought to be additional careful and guarantee it’s the capability to process incoming applications at intervals a timely manner.
3) Expedite technological transformation
The third step is for Canada to expedite the badly-needed technological transformation of its immigration system. abundant of the immigration system remains paper-based, that slows things down. Moreover, it makes it tough for workers to process applications remotely and to transfer files to different offices. IRCC ought to attempt for all applications to be on-line within the near future, whereas at a similar time providing accommodations for those that have disabilities, the elderly, among others who might have to submit paper-based applications. Technology could be a major quality to the immigration system, and may expedite several processes. At some point we must always attempt to finish as several immigration processes on-line, like changing visas status for those in Canada, and citizenship ceremonies.
4) Be more transparent
The fourth is for Canada to be additional transparent on the state of immigration policies and operations. IRCC has kept United States within the dark for much of the pandemic instead of fulfilling its obligation to tell the public on its policy priorities and state of operations. as an example, it went between December 2020 and April 2022 before telling Federal skilled worker Program (FSWP) candidates once they would be invited under express Entry once more. It did a similar for Canadian experience class (CEC) candidates between September 2021 and April 2022. Moving forward, IRCC ought to offer regular public updates, ideally on a monthly basis, outlining what its current policy priorities are, and therefore the state of its backlogs. this may permit all stakeholders together with candidates themselves, employers, post-secondary establishments, and more, to be ready to plan accordingly.
5) Conduct an independent study
The fifth step is for Canada to be additional responsible regarding its immigration system shortcomings throughout the pandemic. AN independent study ought to be commissioned to evaluate what IRCC did right, what it did wrong, and what it will do higher. whereas the pandemic could be a valid excuse, it’s not the sole reason why the backlog has ballooned over the past 2 years.
An independent study will shed light-weight on the policy and operational causes of the backlog and provide recommendations that the mistakes don’t happen once more. Being additional responsible will facilitate to revive trust in Canada’s immigration system. several stakeholders have had a foul expertise during the pandemic that has hurt the name of our immigration system. Showing the general public that the Canadian government is capable of acknowledging its mistakes and rectifying them can probably lead to additional candidates viewing Canada in an exceedingly positive light.
6) Form a National advisory Council on Immigration
Sixth, the Canadian government must collaborate additional with Canadian immigration specialists. Canada contains a giant immigration system packed with specialists from many various industries like law, business, the settlement sector, research, academia, governments, post-secondary establishments, and more. Yet, there are few significant immigration consultations throughout the pandemic, resulting in evitable consequences.
Forming a National advisory Council on Immigration (NACI) would be a positive step towards harnessing all this expertise therefore Canada will create the most effective immigration decisions potential. These styles of skilled councils exist among different Canadian government departments. Forming one on immigration would be a significant quality for IRCC.
Looking ahead, we must always feel optimistic that Canada’s immigration system can eventually get back on target. Immigration is much too necessary to Canada’s prosperity for the system to stay disrupted for for much longer.
The technological investments Canada is creating, and the hiring of additional IRCC employees, and accumulated public scrutiny from the likes of the media, CIMM, employers, post-secondary establishments, and candidates themselves can hopefully cause Canada delivering a far higher expertise to immigration candidates within the years ahead.