According to data received through an access to information act request, IRCC had a backlog of over 1.8 million applications in December 2021. For this reason, the processing time for FSW applicants has increased significantly.
The processing time indicated on the Government of Canada’s website indicates 6 months for Express Entry applications, including FSW. However, as many FSW applicants know, this has not been the case during the pandemic.
A recent memo from IRCC indicated that the processing time for FSW applications was 20.5 months as of November 2021. This is expected to increase in 2022 to a whopping 36 months.
Immigration officers are represented as codes in Canada’s immigration system. Several overseas applicants who applied in 2019 said they were assigned to officer “DM10032”. These applicants reported to CBC News that the officer has been seemingly absent since March 2020.
It is possible that officer DM10032 is not a person, but rather, a placeholder code. IRCC has admitted to using a placeholder code instead of a real officer in response to past access to information requests.
IRCC has been using various codes throughout the pandemic to represent priority processing. DM10032 may represent FSW applications that are in the queue, waiting to be processed.
The FSW processing time increase caused by the pandemic resulted in a huge influx of access to information act requests. The act allows applicants to request detailed notes through the Global Case Management System (GCMS), which IRCC uses to process applications.
Requesting GCMS notes allows applicants to view an officer’s detailed notes on their file, which can sometimes help identify delays.
In response to the growing number of requests, the Government of Canada announced a Management Action Plan. Part of this plan involves expanding the capabilities of the MyAccount portal to provide clearer communication to immigration applicants.
GCMS notes do not always provide a clear reason for an application’s delay. The notes include codes that are only used internally; applicants also also often “stuck” at a stage without any reason that is apparent to the applicant. It has not clear whether the MyAccount portal will include more transparent and detailed notes.
According to an internal IRCC memo, there are currently over 76,000 FHS (including FSW, CEC, and FST) applications on inventory. The Government of Canada will reveal its updated Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024 next month. The government intends to continue bringing in newcomers as part of Canada’s economic growth and recovery plan. If they do not increase FSW, CEC, and FST immigration targets for this year, the intake will likely be restrictive, or the backlog will continue to grow.
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