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BREAKING: Sean Fraser provides update on Canada’s immigration system

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Immigration Minister Sean Fraser discusses new measures to tackle backlog

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, today spoke in Vancouver about the continued work of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to reduce application backlogs, improve the client experience and address shortages of workforce.

As an immediate measure, IRCC announced that it will have hired up to 1,250 new staff by the end of the fall to speed up processing capacity and reduce the backlog, while making efforts to make the system more efficient in the long term. IRCC says the new hires will reduce application wait times and allow new applications to be processed at pre-pandemic levels, including the six-month service standard for Express Entry programs.

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Number of records processed between January and July 2022

IRCC welcomed 405,0000 new permanent residents to Canada in 2021, with a target of 431,000 for 2022 according to the Immigration Levels Plan. So far in 2022, 275,000 new permanent residents have arrived between January 1 and July 31. During the same period, 349,000 new work permits were issued, including 220,000 open work permits (OWPs). A PTO will allow licensees to work anywhere in Canada in most occupations.

There has also been an increase in study permit applications, with 360,000 permits finalized so far in 2022. This represents a 31% increase over the total number of study permits issued in the same year. period in 2021.

IRCC will publish backlog data monthly

IRCC says processing delays have been exacerbated due to Canada’s response to humanitarian crises and updating aging technology to meet current demand. They report that at the end of July, approximately 54% of applications in the system had been there longer than the service standard, across all lines of business. IRCC says it currently aims to process 80% of new applications within its service standards.

In recognition of the backlog, IRCC has announced that it will post monthly data on its website and share more information in the coming weeks on additional steps taken to improve the current system.

Overview of the immigration backlog

IRCC’s backlog nearly tripled during the pandemic. The latest IRCC data obtained by CIC News says the backlog stood at nearly 2.7 million applicants as of mid-July. However, more recent data released by IRCC today indicates that the backlog has shrunk to some 2.4 million applicants as of July 31.

IRCC also provided an update on how the department defines a backlog. Its website indicates that requests processed within its service standards are not considered part of the backlog. However, requests that are not processed within its service standards count towards the backlog.

IRCC’s service standards are the benchmarks that the Department sets for each business line. For example, Express Entry has a service standard that applications for permanent residence are processed within six months.

According to IRCC’s new web page, 47% of the 639,500 permanent residence applications currently being processed meet its service standards.

Meanwhile, 41% of the approximately 1.4 million temporary resident applications meet its service standards.

Some 65% of the approximately 379,000 citizenship applications currently being processed meet IRCC’s service standards.

As noted, the Department aims to process 80% of requests within its service standards. Its new web page contains projections of when the department expects to be able to achieve this goal in its various business lines. For example, it expects to achieve this target for Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program and the Spouse, Partner and Child Program by the end of this year.

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