A memo from IRCC shows the 2022 citizenship target along with making recommendations regarding processing applications

The IRCC has provided CIC News with a memo that highlights the number of citizenships Canada aims to grant for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

The memo was developed by the Operations, Planning, and Performance division of (IRCC) Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a senior official. It recommends the IRCC process up to 285,000 decisions along with 300,000 new citizens by  March 31, 2023. A decision is a review of an application that will determine if it is to be approved, denied, or marked as incomplete while the citizenship target means that 300,000 applicants who have passed the criteria to be eligible to become citizens of Canada will be able to do so after taking the oath of citizenship, either in person or virtually.

This target for citizenships is significantly higher than the 2021-2022 fiscal year when Canada only welcomed 217,000 new citizens or even the pre-pandemic year of 2019-2020 when only 253,000 citizenship applications were processed. As for the 2022-2023 fiscal year so far 116,000 citizenships have been processed.

IRCC changing the entire application process to digital 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRCC was rendered incapable of processing applications by March 2020, since the department only processes paper applications that were mailed to IRCC to a central location, and with in-person events also being canceled the IRCC was unable to conduct interviews with candidates to perform the oath swearing at citizenship ceremonies.

These constraints had led the IRCC towards making the citizenship application process, for some applicants, entirely digital, starting from November 2020 and since then this has expanded to include all applicants over the age of 18. However, despite this making future application processing easier the backlog from the previous paper applications still remains.

The memo has recommended the IRCC continue with its current system and prioritize older, paper applications while dealing with a small number of digital applications to prevent backlog growth.

Over 20 month long processing period 

A subsequent report that was published in May stated that the Processing time stood at 27 months which according to the memo is to be expected due to increased online applications compiled with the backlog of paper applications. It is recorded that following the previous June, there were 413,000 applications in the grant inventory.

The IRCC has stated that it has taken steps to reduce the backlogs while processing 80% of all new applications under adequate service standards. In order to achieve these results the IRCC has hired over  1,000 new staff members to increase processing time and they also aim to provide representatives access to the citizenship application status tracker. Moreover, they have also planned to make minors under the age of 18 eligible to apply for citizenship online by the end of the year.

IRCC sets target to grant 300,000 people citizenship in this fiscal year

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