Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reports overall Shortage Of nearly half one lakh applications since august this year, it is almost double Number of applications processed In the same period in 2021 when Department Processed 2.5 million.
The progress comes as the IRCC is on track to admit a record 431,000 new permanent residents to Canada by the end of 2022.
The largest number of applications processed fall under the temporary residence category. IRCC processes approximately 700,000 work permits and 670,000 study permits in 2022. Canada also welcomed nearly 251,000 new citizens between April and November.
“Our government has reduced pandemic-related backlogs by almost half a million, as well as processing a record-breaking number of immigration applications this year,” says immigration minister Sean Fraser. Come to Canada to work, study, visit or settle. It is through the dedication and hard work of those who administer our immigration system, and our willingness to modernize and adapt, that we are able to maintain Canada’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive country .
Backlog continues to decline
As on December 2 this year, IRCC had 22 lakh applications in its inventory. IRCC data as of November 30 shows that 1.09 million applications, more than 50% of all applications, are considered backlogged, or not processed within service standards. The latest data is an improvement on data from November 3, when the inventory stood at 2.4 million applications, and is down significantly from the 2.6 million in September.
The IRCC says that due to services modernization efforts, all new spousal sponsorship applications are now processed within the pre-pandemic service standard of 12 months and new Express Entry applications within 6 months. The IRCC has also reduced its post-pandemic backlog of applications for permanent resident card renewal by 99%.
IRCC’s Modernization and Streamlining Efforts
Throughout the year, IRCC has been experiencing a massive backlog of applications due to travel restrictions and office closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, IRCC has implemented changes to correct operational inefficiencies such as the digitization of applications. For example, citizenship applications are now 100% digital for anyone over the age of 18 and only 28% of the 318,000 citizenship applications in inventory are considered backlogged.
Additionally, the department announced in August that it would hire 1,250 new employees by the end of the year to help streamline the application process.
An application in the backlog means that it has not been processed within service standards. These standards provide expected timelines or targets for how long it should take to process an application. The service standard is different from the actual time taken by IRCC to process applications.
IRCC aims to process 80% of applications across all lines of business within service standards. The service standard varies depending on the type of application. For example, six months is standard for permanent residency applications through the Express Entry program. It tallies for other economy class lines of business. The IRCC states that the service standard for family class sponsorship of a spouse and child is 12 months.
Temporary residence applications have service standards that range between 60-120 days depending on the type of application (work or study) and if it was submitted from Canada or abroad. IRCC says they are now processing most new study permits within service standards.
Canada plans to welcome largest number of immigrants ever
The Immigration Level Plan 2023-2025 aims to invite more than 500,000 new permanent residents to Canada each year by the end of 2025.
The higher target comes as the country is seeking to fill urgent gaps in the labor force. It is expected that ninety million Canadians will reach retirement age by 2030 and there are not enough natural born Canadians to fill the resulting job vacancies.
Over the past year, IRCC has taken several measures to increase the number of immigrants coming to Canada. For example, the IRCC extended work permits to spouses and dependents of working age temporary foreign workers and removed the 20-hour work cap per week for international students.
There have also been expansions of the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), which became permanent earlier this year, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. Additionally, the Economic Mobility Pilot Program has received additional funding to support 2,000 skilled refugees.
Sector-specific initiatives in health care have also been launched, including the removal of barriers to physicians already in Canada on temporary work visas, as well as the introduction of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, which focuses on support workers . Market integration of skilled entrants in the health sector.
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