In-stock application numbers are declining while admissions are having a record-breaking year.
Almost 500,000 fewer applications have been submitted overall since August of this year, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). When compared to the same period in 2021, when the department processed 2.5 million applications, this is almost twice as many applications.
The development comes as IRCC is on target to welcome 431,000 new permanent residents to Canada by the end of 2022, which would set a new record.
Temporary residence applications make up the majority of those that are processed. In 2022, IRCC processed 670,000 student permits and approximately 700,000 work permits. Approximately 251,000 new citizens arrived in Canada between April and November.
According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, "Our government has cut its pandemic backlogs by nearly half a million and processed a record-breaking number of immigration applications this year. Our actions are ensuring that we can continue to welcome and support newcomers who come to Canada to work, study, visit, or settle here. We are able to uphold Canada's reputation as an open and inclusive nation thanks to the commitment and labor of those who oversee our immigration system as well as our readiness to modernize and adapt.
The backlog keeps becoming smaller:
The IRCC has 2.2 million applications in stock as of December 2 of this year. According to IRCC data as of November 30, 1.09 million applications, or just over 50% of all applications, are now in a backlog or are not being handled in accordance with service requirements. The most recent data is down significantly from 2.6 million in September and is an improvement over the data from November 3, when there were 2.4 million applications in inventory.
All new spousal sponsorship applications are now processed within the pre-pandemic service norm of 12 months, according to the IRCC, and new Express Entry applications within 6 months. The pandemic backlog of requests for renewed permanent residence cards has also been reduced by 99% by IRCC.
IRCC's initiatives to modernize and simplify:
Since the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic-related travel bans and office closures have resulted in a significant backlog of applications that IRCC has been attempting to manage.
The IRCC has responded by making adjustments to address operational inefficiencies such as the digitization of applications. For instance, all citizenship applications submitted by those above the age of 18 are now digital, and only 28% of the 318,000 applications now on file are regarded as backlogs.
In order to speed up the application processing process, the department also declared in August that it will hire 1,250 more employees by the end of the year.
Applications that are backlogged have not been handled according to service standards. These requirements specify the anticipated time frame, or target, for application processing. The time it actually takes the IRCC to process applications is different from the service standard.
In order to meet service standards, IRCC strives to handle 80% of applications from all business lines. Depending on the kind of application, a different service standard applies. For instance, the usual processing time for an Express Entry permanent residency application is six months. For other economic class lines of business, it is lengthier. According to IRCC, the minimum service requirement for spousal and kid family class sponsorship is twelve months.
Depending on the type of application (job or study) and whether it was submitted from within Canada or overseas, temporary residency applications have service standards that range between 60 and 120 days. According to IRCC, they are now handling most new study permits within the required time frames.
Canada intends to accept the most immigrants ever:
By the end of 2025, the Immigration Levels Plan 2023–2025 seeks to welcome and accept over 500,000 new permanent residents to Canada annually.
The nation is currently attempting to fill critical labor force deficits, hence the high objective. By 2030, up to nine million Canadians could be of retirement age, and there won't be enough native-born citizens to fill the jobs that will become available as a result.
The IRCC has put up a variety of initiatives over the past year to boost the number of immigrants entering Canada. For instance, the IRCC has lowered the 20-hour work limit for international students and extended work licenses to spouses and dependent children of temporary foreign employees who are of working age.
The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), which was made permanent earlier this year, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot have also seen growth. Additionally, additional money for 2,000 skilled refugees will be provided via the Economic Mobility Pilot Program.
Additionally, sector-specific initiatives have been launched, most notably in the healthcare industry with the removal of restrictions for doctors who are already in Canada on temporary work visas and the launch of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, which supports the integration of skilled immigrants into the health sector's labor market.