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IRCC delays due to applications assigned to inactive immigration officers.

With applications for 2022 reaching all-time highs, it has been more imperative than ever for Immigrations, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canadian Government to address the issues still plaguing IRCC's current backlogs.

59,456 open, pending or re-opened applications

Recently, CBC submitted an ATIP request which revealed that one of the major causes to IRCC's delays and continuous backlogs could be that thousands of immigration applications have been assigned to inactive immigration officers; some officers having been inactive since 2006.

The request showed that a total of 59,456 open, pending or re-opened applications, had been assigned to 779 former employees or dormant computer placeholders, essentially resulting in these applications remaining dormant, unprocessed, and in limbo for months and even years without any updates.

Minister calls system an 'ordinary' part of 'triage strategy'

Naturally, this has caused a great deal of stress and anxiety for applicants still awaiting news on their applications, leaving some applicants to wonder how this could even happen.

In response, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser spoke to reporters and said assigning applicants to the IDs of ex-employees is "an ordinary process" for IRCC — "It's part of an inventory management code, is the language of the department. When an employee becomes inactive, he said, their code is used to hold cases that have similarities "as part of our triage strategy."

Fraser continued to state that these procedures were design to ensures the files "actually go to the place in our global system that will be able to process it most effectively..." given that the processing of applications "may involve more than one officer" and applications can be shifted from one centre to another for efficiency.

However, as recent years have come to prove, this system has not worked as intended and may have actually hindered IRCC's ability to process applications in a timely manner.


So, what is being done?

In response to this discovery, Immigrations, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have taken several steps to improve the immigration system, such as digitizing applications, hiring and training new personnel, streamlining processes and adopting automation technologies for greater efficiency in processing.

Through these realizations, IRCC has steadily reduced their backlog, bringing the total number of backlogged applications from 2,387,884 in June of 2022, to just under 2.2 million as of December 2, 2022.

Possibly Still Not Enough

However, despite these increasing efforts, many applications continue to remain dormant within IRCC’s system.

Thus, although IRCC and the Canadian Government are implementing new changes to combat their current backlogs, it is recommended that you review your current portal to ensure your application has been assigned a currently active office.

To check your code, contact IRCC via their call centre hotline to obtain your GCMS code; this will allow you to see the officer attached to your file. You will then be able to check if your application is being overseen by one of the 779 inactive Immigration Officers.

For more information, or, for a list of these officers, click here.

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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.


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