Canada accomplishes reducing visa backlogs to a great extent followed by a record number of new admissions into the country.

The (IRCC) Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have publicly released a report explaining its progress in reducing the visa backlog by nearly half a million applications following August of the current year which is almost twice the number of applications processed within the same time frame in 2021.

This progress can be linked to Canada’s desire to increase the number of permanent residents being admitted into the country to tackle the historic Labor shortages. Out of all the immigration categories the largest number of applications processed were from the temporary residence category. At the same time, the IRCC also processed almost 700,000 work permits followed closely by 670,000 study permits in 2022. It also welcomed nearly 251,000 new citizens between April and November.

Declining Backlogs

The IRCC had approximately 2.2 million applications in inventory since 2nd December 2022. The data from the IRCC also shows that on November 30 a bit more than 50% percent of the applications (1.09 million applications) were considered to be backlogged, or not being processed under service standards.

Moreover, the IRCC says that because of the efforts to modernize services, all new spousal sponsorship applications are now being processed under the service standards of 12 months set before the pandemic while the Express Entry applications are being processed within the pre-pandemic service standard of 12 months and new Express Entry applications within 6 months. The permanent resident card backlogs that piled up during the pandemic have also been reduced by 99% by the IRCC.

IRCC’s efforts to modernize and streamline

The travel restrictions and office closures that occurred during COVID-19 had caused a massive rise in visa backlogs which the IRCC has been trying to deal with over the past year and has made significant progress. However, to prevent something like this from happening again the IRCC has implemented changes to Canada’s immigration system to remove operational inefficiencies. An example of this can be seen from citizenship applications now becoming 100% digital for anyone over the age of 18 and out of the 318,000 citizenship applications in inventory, only 28% are considered backlog.

Additionally, there was also an announcement made by the department that it will be hiring another 1,250 new staff members by the end of the year to help streamline application processing.

Service standards

Applications become part of backlogs if they are not processed within “service standards” which is an allocated time limit that is set by the IRCC for the processing of applications. The IRCC has provided different service standards for applications depending on the type of application such as permanent residency applications through an Express Entry program are to be processed within six months but the standard is longer for other economic class lines of business. IRCC states its service standard for spousal and child family class sponsorship is 12 months. However, it is not necessary that the application is processed at exactly the time mentioned in the service standards, it can be processed a bit sooner or later.

Currently, the IRCC is aiming to process 80% of applications across all lines of business within service standards along with new study permits.

IRCC has processed an all-time high of 4.8 million applications in 2022

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