Canada on the roll

Canada reduces immigration backlog of applications by 500,000

Highly-skilled professionals planning to immigrate to Canada are now getting their applications processed faster than ever before.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been taking steady action to strengthen Canada’s immigration system—reducing wait times, and modernizing its services so they work better for everyone

Today, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Sean Fraser, highlighted progress that has been made this year, in reducing backlogs of applications that have been in IRCC’s inventories beyond its service standards.

Record year for processing immigration applications to Canada

Canada reduces immigration backlog of applications by 500,000

Since August, IRCC has reduced its overall inventory by nearly half a million applications. The department has also been setting the bar higher  for processing.

At the end of November, IRCC had processed approximately 4.8 million applications—nearly twice the 2.5 million processed during the same period last year.

To help strengthen our immigration system, IRCC has digitized applications, hired and trained new employees, streamlined processes, and harnessed automation technologies to increase processing efficiency while protecting the safety and security of Canadians.

The department remains on track to meet its goal to process 80% of new applications within service standards for most programs and continues to make strides in improving processing, resulting in shorter wait times for our clients.

For study permit processing, Canada is also on pace to set a new record this year. As of November 30 this year, IRCC had processed over 670,000 study permits, compared to more than 500,000 during the same time period last year. As a result of these efforts, most new study permits are now being processed within the 60-day service standard.

Work permit processing also saw vast improvements, with nearly 700,000 work permits processed by November 30, compared to about 223,000 during the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

IRCC continues to reduce backlogs and process visitor visas more quickly to respond to the growing number of people who want to visit Canada.

On a monthly basis, Canada is now processing more visitor visa applications than it did prior to the pandemic. In November alone, over 260,000 visitor visas were processed. By contrast, the monthly average in 2019 was about 180,000 applications.

Permanent residents to Canada.

Permanent residence applications, improving service and reuniting spouses and families are also being processed faster.

Canada welcomed a record-breaking 405,000 new permanent residents in 2021, surpassing the previous record from 1913. After another record year in 2022, Canada remains on track to reach its target of more than 431,000 new permanent residents.

All new spousal sponsorship applications are now processed within the pre-pandemic service standard of 12 months and new Express Entry applications within 6 months.

Permanent residents can also expect shorter wait times when renewing their permanent resident cards as IRCC has reduced its pandemic backlog of applications for card renewals by 99%.

Canada is proud to have one of the highest naturalization rates in the world and encourages all newcomers to complete their journey by becoming Canadian citizens. IRCC expects a record number of new Canadian citizens in 2022–2023, with approximately 251,000 new citizens welcomed from April to November—surpassing the total number of new Canadian citizens for the last fiscal year.

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said, “our actions are ensuring that we can continue to welcome and support newcomers who come to Canada to work, study, visit, or settle here.

“It is through the dedication and hard work of those who administer our immigration system, and our willingness to modernize and adapt, that we are able to uphold Canada’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive country.”

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