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Canada’s Immigration Backlogs Show Little Change

Although hopes were high at the end of 2022 regarding IRCC’s notorious backlogs and the expected drop in same, new date released by IRCC earlier this month has now not only confirmed that backlogs have continued to worsen since January 2023, but that as a result of said backlogs, IRCC, unfortunately, seen a decrease in their standard services as well.


So, what does this mean for your future goals and how will this impact the remainder of 2023? Border Law’s opinion is as follows:


In an email to CIC News, IRCC reported that the number of current immigration applications seeking to be processed has remained consistently high since the commencement of 2023; at just over 2.1 million applications overall.


Specifically, as of this month, the current breakdown of these Applications per category of immigration is as follows:

1. Citizenship Applications rose to 302,980 applicants compared to 301,388 on January 3;

2. Permanent Residency Applications rose to 523,557 people compared to 521,552 as of January 2; and

3. Temporary Resident Applications finally began to see a decrease in the current backlog; noting 1,294,974 applications as of February 1, 2023, compared to 1,329,280 applicants as of January 2.


What’s more, the data from IRCC also shows that over 47,000 applicants under the Express Entry program are still in the queue awaiting to be processed; demonstrating that IRCC’s service stands within the Express Entry stream are beginning to struggle.


Subsequently, despite IRCC’s best attempts and wishes, although there has been a slight decrease in the number of awaiting applications under the temporary residence stream, the other two major categories of immigration have actually seen an increase to their respective backlogs by about 6%.


So, what does this mean for you?


Service standards act as expected timelines, or goal, for how long it should take to process an application. When applications are not processed within IRCC’s noted service standards, then those applications become categorized as backlogged.


The problem with this approach is that service standards do not refer to the actual amount of time that IRCC takes to process applications.


Thus, backlogs of this nature are important to note because as backlogs continue to increase, IRCCs service standards usually tend to decrease as well; often resulting in higher levels of applications slipping through metaphorical cracks in IRCC’s processing system.


Luckily, as per recent data, IRCC is hopeful that by March 2023, we will begin to see a larger decrease among all categories of immigration anywhere between 5-10%.


To achieve this goal, and alleviate the current backlog problem, IRCC continues to prioritize:

1. hiring more employees to speed up processing across all business lines;

2. reviewing and improving its processes so it can eliminate steps and use technologies to support its employees and speed up processing;

3. increasing permanent resident targets year after year to accommodate as many new immigrants as possible and further reduce the backlog; and

4. expanding online applications for citizenship to minors under the age of 18.


However, said projections are estimates based on current operating conditions, and do not “account for sharp increases in received applications, urgent shifts in priorities, or other unforeseen circumstances affecting our operations” as per IRCC.


Consequently, Border Law believes that until IRCCs approach accounts for Canada’s sharp increase in received applications, the possibility of urgent shifts in IRCC’s priorities, or the potential of other unforeseen circumstances, IRCCs backlogs will continue to persist.


Overall, while IRCC is working toward its goal of processing 80% of applications within its service standards, the current inventory suggests that they have not hit their stride yet and thus, only time will tell whether or not IRCC will be able to resolve Canada’s current backlogs despite our ever-growing demand for immigration.


Are you’re interested in learning how to immigrate to Canada? We can help!

Working with immigration counsel can save you time and money throughout your immigration process. Get started today by completing our free Consult Request Form and a member of our team will contact you to discuss your options!


This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.

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