The Government of Canada is modernizing and improving its immigration system, to better align with the conditions of the Canadian labour market, the changing nature of work, and the growth of Canada’s economy. Unfortunately, border restrictions and other pandemic-related factors have led to delays and backlogs for many applicants.
On January 31, 2022, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, addressed these issues by stating that IRCC is aware that the current "processing delays have been incredibly frustrating for many individuals". The Minister also added that "helping client s come to Canada quickly, with predictable processing times and efficient communication with IRCC, remains a top priority", not only for IRCC, but the Minister himself.
So, how does IRCC plan to meet these objectives?
In his news announcement, the Honourable Sean Fraser noted several vast improvements IRCC has made on their immigration system as of late, as well as the areas they are currently looking to modernize; such as the online portals for permanent residence, temporary residence and citizenship. Developments which the Minister believes will keep Canada's immigration system competitive, while also providing all applicants with a "client experience they deserve.”
To this effect, some of the key developments noted include:
Permanent Residence Portal
IRCC is soft-launching a permanent residence (PR) digital intake portal. This will enable some PR applicants to apply online. A list of currently implemented streams can be found here.
This will help reduce processing times and improve system-wide efficiency while keeping IRCC staff, clients and Canadians safe, in line with its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan. Whilst applicant will still have the opportunity to apply on paper, this will allow Permanent Residence applicants to streamline their application and avoid delays caused by mail-in applications.
Along with these changes, IRCC has also implemented a separate portal to allow Permanent Resident applicants to finalize their PR process and apply for their Permanent Resident Card without any person interaction.
IRCC has seen a vast influx of Study and Work Permits, seen record numbers and increased each year. To combat this, they have continued to increase their workforce and are expanding their use of advanced data analytics with the aim to meet service standards.advanced data analytics with the aim to meet service standards. with the aim to meet service standards.advanced data analytics with the aim to meet service standards.
Continuing to use Advanced Data Analytics, IRCC has proven that routine files are being assessed 87% faster. This has allowed some applicants to be processed quicker whilst integrity is maintained, assisting IRCC officers in making final decisions whilst dealing with the increased volume of applicants.
Expanding IRCC's services to allow the use of virtual citizenship ceremonies, allowing clients to take their Oath of Citizenship ceremonies online, further preventing the need for in-person and decreasing the spread of Covid-19. This has proven to reduce backlog by 60,000.
An online application portal has been implemented for Citizenship applicants to apply for citizenship, get straightforward proof of citizenship, or search citizenship records. Alongside this a new Citizenship Tracker has been created to allow clients to stay up to date on the status of their application.
In Closing, as Canada continues to remain a top destination for many foreign nationals alike, IRCC is feeling the crunch more then ever to modernize their current systems and get processing back on track. By increasing IRCC's resources and implementing more advanced online systems, IRCC is continuing to show that they are working diligently on alleviating the issues previously compounded by border restrictions and other pandemic-related factors, and why they continually beat international records when it comes to newcomers year after year.
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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.