Canada is all set for modernisation to support its economic recovery! The Canadian economy is highly dependent on immigration which helps to address labour shortages and keeps communities thriving. New immigrants to Canada have played a crucial role in addressing some of the most severe labour shortages all through the pandemic even on the front lines.
However, processing delays & many such challenges still remain as hurdles, leading to increasing frustration of those waiting to arrive in Canada to work or reunite with their families. Many talented and skilled newcomers have been waiting long in the pandemic times for immigration to Canada. Even though Canada welcomed the highest
number of permanent residents in 2021 by processing a record number of applications, there have been delays for many applicants, and long waits for application updates. Adding to the woes, border restrictions and other pandemic-related factors have caused these delays and need to be addressed urgently.
The Honourable Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser has announced measures to improve client experience and modernise the immigration system. These measures are taken as part of
a broader process to address key challenges faced by new immigrants. More predictable processing times that new immigrants expect and deserve are the outcomes hoped to be achieved.
The Government of Canada has proposed $85 million as new funding to reduce application inventories in its Economic and Fiscal Update 2021. The investment will support additional staff required to welcome people who can help address labour shortages and to return to processing service standards in various programs by the end of this year. The main areas covered here will include processing study permits, work permits and permanent resident card renewals. The staff will also be working to decrease processing times for visitor visas and proof of citizenship.
These improvements will add on what IRCC has already accomplished to reduce wait times like hiring approximately 500 new processing staff, digitising applications, and reallocating work among its offices around the world.
Nowadays advanced data analytics is being used to accelerate the processing work by helping officers sort and process visitor visa applications submitted from outside Canada. When data analytics systems were being used for visitor visas, it has shown that routine files could be assessed 87% faster. Some applicants have received decisions
more quickly while program integrity is maintained. An IRCC officer will always be the higher authority in making a final decision, but this system will improve client service by helping IRCC manage the increasing volume of visitor visa applications.
IRCC has achieved over half a million decisions on permanent resident applications in 2021.By further increasing processing capacity, IRCC plans to make 147,000 permanent residence final decisions in the first quarter of 2022—doubling what was done in the same period last year. To further support permanent residence applicants, IRCC will be expanding the digital application portal to include more clients in summer 2022. The transition to an online application process will minimize COVID-19-related delays associated with processing paper applications, and will provide clients with immediate confirmation that their application was successfully submitted. Efforts to date have allowed average processing times for spousal sponsorship applicants to return to the service standard of 12 months for new applications.
As clients will want easier access to status updates on their case files, IRCC also plans to introduce a new Permanent Residence Application Tracker in February 2022 for spouses and dependents, to check their application details and status online.
IRCC has also developed a portal to allow permanent residence applicants in Canada to finalise their process and receive their permanent residency cards without any in-person interaction. This will further tackle COVID-19-related challenges and speed up the process. Right from June to December 2021, 225,000 permanent residents have
used this portal.
More good news for citizenship applicants! To speed up things, IRCC has introduced online testing & developed an online application tracker. More than 170,000 new Canadians have been sworn in since April 1, 2020 as IRCC has hosted approximately 350 virtual ceremonies per month. While continuing to expand the use of virtual ceremonies, IRCC is also exploring an option for those who wish to self-administer their Oath by signed attestation, and celebrate their citizenship at a later date. By doing this the waiting time for those at the final stage of their citizenship process could be shortened.
IRCC will always remain focused to provide meaningful, on-time, and transparent information to our clients. The online processing times tool will be updated in the coming months to give our clients more up-to-date estimates of how long it will take to process their applications. IRCC will continue to focus on ways to modernise how to deliver programs and services, so that Canada can continue to be a destination of choice for people across the globe.
For more updates on immigration to Canada, contact us at M&G Immigration Consultants.