application backlogCanada Immigration UpdateIRCCIRCC processing

IRCC Announces Immigration Updates to Tackle Backlogs

Published on: August 31st, 2022

Last week, Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, discussed Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) measures to continue to work to reduce labour shortages, and cut application backlogs. Among other updates, is the addition of 1,250 new employees to address long processing times and reduce the number of backlogged applications in the system. 

Updates Announced

A Canadian immigration application backlog update was announced last Wednesday. As part of the most recent updates, IRCC announced a hiring goal of up to 1,250 new employees by the end of the fall. The goal of the increased staff numbers is to tackle the backlogs and increase processing times across all programs. The increased staff numbers are just part of the solution in the short run said the IRCC. More sustainable system updates are expected down the road to continue to address the issue and speed up application times.

Another update announced on Wednesday is the addition of a new page that has been launched by the IRCC. This new page will give the public better access to track immigration backlogs and get regular updates about what is being done to address the backlog issues. The webpage will be updated monthly to release statistics related to immigration to keep the community up to date. 

“A well-run immigration system supports our communities’ futures and allows our industries to tap into essential talent and new business opportunities, so they can continue to grow and remain competitive. We will continue to take steps to strengthen immigration, for the benefit of our businesses, our economy, and all Canadians.”

 The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Backlog Overview

The IRCC is facing an unprecedented backlog recently due to a combination of factors. Applications have built up due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an increase in the number of applications in response to humanitarian crises, and in part due to aging technology. In mid-July, the backlog reached nearly 2.7 million applicants. Figures recently released by the IRCC show that it has declined to about 2.4 million applicants as of the end of July. The IRCC stated the recent new hires, updated technology, and $85 million support provided from the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, have allowed wait times to return to pre-pandemic service standards for new clients in programs such as Express Entry, and family reunification through spousal sponsorship. 

The IRCC also clarified what it defined as backlog. It is stated on its website that a backlog is any application that exceeds service standards. The IRCC noted applications that are processed within its service standards are not counted in the backlog. Each program has its own benchmark for what is considered to be in line with service standards. For example for Express Entry, service standards are typically within 6 months.

Historic Number of Permits

Labour demands have been at an all-time high recently in Canada. Recruiting skilled employees has been an obstacle and is expected to continue to be a hurdle in the coming months. Nearly two-fifths of all businesses in the construction, manufacturing, accommodation, and food services sectors are expected to face challenges with recruitment in the coming months. With many turning to immigration to meet labour demands, especially in skilled roles, it’s no surprise that immigration quotas are on the rise. 

In 2021, the IRCC welcomed more than 405,000 new permanent residents to Canada. The goal for 2022 is to admit over 431,000 new permanent residents and as of July 31st, the IRCC has already admitted over 275,000 which has been higher than any previous year. 

Currently, in 2022, there have been a total of 275,000 new permanent residents that have arrived from the beginning of the year to the end of July. In that same period, 349,000 new work permits were issued, including 220,000 open work permits. 

There has also been an increase in study permit applications. 360,000 permits have been finalized so far in 2022, which is up 31 percent from the total number of study permits issued over the same period in 2021. 

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