Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser held a teleconference on January 31, 2022. During the teleconference, Fraser walked through IRCC’s efforts to reduce application processing time using the $85 million budget, and the new functionalities introduced to modernize Canada’s immigration system.
Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) draws have been put on pause since December 2020. This was initially in place due travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pause continued in response to a significant application backlog.
In 2021, Canada introduced temporary permanent residence programs that invited a high volume of candidates already in Canada. This created a backlog of applicants on inventory that IRCC is working to eliminate.
Minister Fraser assured teleconference participants that the pause on Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) draws was temporary, and that he is hoping to resume them as quickly as possible. Fraser indicated they will prioritize reducing the processing time for FSW applicants already in queue before resuming FSW draws.
When the Canadian government has specifics on when FSW draws will resume, they will make it public. In the meantime, other economic programs continue to bring newcomers to Canada.
According to Minister Fraser, part of IRCC’s budget will help bring work permit, study permit, and PR card application processing times back to pre-pandemic service-standard. Fraser confirmed that this will be accomplished by the end of the year, if not sooner.
The government is also working on updating the online processing time tool to reflect the actual time it takes for a Canadian immigration application to process. Though Canadian immigration processing time has been much longer than usual since COVID-19, this has not been accurately reflected through the tool IRCC provides to check processing times.
IRCC recently announced the introduction of advanced data analytics to help process temporary resident visa (TRV) applications.
Minister Fraser spoke on this system and addressed concerns regarding privacy and fairness for applicants.
The system, which helps IRCC to sort and process all TRV applications, processes routine files 87% faster than the standard method.
Concerns were raised that applicants would not receive sufficient grounds for refusal, or that the system could unfairly disadvantage certain candidates.
Minister Fraser emphasized the importance of embracing modern and digital systems. He also assured attendees that the data from the system has eased his own concerns. IRCC will continue to closely monitor the new system to ensure it is working how it should.
Fraser confirmed that IRCC is launching a permanent residence case tracker for sponsorship applicants to access their application information more easily. This system will begin next month, February 2022.
IRCC is currently working on implementing this system for all immigration and temporary resident applicants.
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