In October 2021, Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship (IRCC) revealed that the immigration application backlog had grown to about 1.8 million, including:
Following criticism from opposition parties, the Liberal government has vowed to tackle this issue.
Last week, the federal government released its Economic and Fiscal Update 2021. Among the measures implemented to address Canada’s labour shortages include investing $85 million toward alleviating Canada’s immigration application backlog.
The Canadian government has acknowledged that COVID-19 drastically slowed down immigration application processing. After Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, the pace continued to slow as resources were redirected to refugee claims.
The additional funding is one of many measures put in place to improve Canada’s immigration system in response to the impact of COVID-19. As frustration among immigration applicants affected by the backlog grew, IRCC also vowed to provide better access to processing information.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, processing times indicated on the IRCC website are not always an accurate representation of the time it will actually take. Various factors will affect an applicant’s processing time, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many applicants affected by processing delays criticized the lack of transparency and communication from IRCC on their files. For this reason, Canada has received a massive influx of requests made under the Access to Information Act. The Access to Information and Privacy Act provides Canadian citizens, permanent residences, or any other person or entity that is present in Canada the right to access government records. The Act allows immigration applicants to request detailed notes from an officer’s review of their file.
In response, the Canadian government announced a Management Action Plan that hopes to decrease the number of requests for case notes by offering clearer communication to applicants awaiting a decision.
Despite the large backlog, IRCC continues to steadily admit new permanent residents at an unprecedented rate. In the last few months, Canada has welcomed a record number of new permanent residents each month. In fact, new data revealed that Canada admitted 46,315 new permanent residents in October 2021. This was the highest number of new permanent residents IRCC has ever admitted in a single month in modern Canadian immigration history.
At this rate, Canada is on track to meet its immigration target of 401,000 newcomers for 2021 – the highest number of newcomers targeted in a single year.
By providing additional funding toward speeding up immigration processing, Canada takes a promising step toward eliminating the backlog. Tackling the immigration backlog also provides hope for Federal Skilled Worker candidates in the Express Entry pool waiting to receive an invitation to apply.
As Canada commits more resources toward immigration processing, now is the time to enter the Express Entry pool.
Interested in learning more about your eligibility for Express Entry? Complete our free online assessment today!
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