With the debut of a new application tracker, candidates for Canada family sponsorship may now watch the status of their immigration dossier as it moves through the system.
“Last week, I outlined our plan to modernize Canada’s immigration system and lower wait times for people coming to live, visit, work, or study,” tweeted Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on Tuesday.
“Today, we deliver on the promise to launch a new digital Permanent Residence Application Tracker for family class applications.”
The tracker will initially be offered to permanent residents in the spouse, partner, and dependent child categories. Ottawa has shifted its immigration application processes online in an effort to reduce delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and speed up application processing.
For new applications, the average processing time for spousal sponsorship applicants has already returned to the service standard of 12 months. Applicants for permanent residence in the family sponsorship categories can now check the status of their applications using this tracker. This new service, which is accessible for spousal, partner, or dependent child categories, will allow people to conveniently monitor the status of their application online, Fraser posted on Twitter.
“We’re also working on providing a similar tracking for other programs,” Fraser explained.
Last year, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made more than 500,000 determinations on permanent resident applications. Immigration officials anticipate that 147,000 permanent residency final decisions will be made in the first quarter of this year, more than doubling the number made in the same period in 2021.
“With new tools and investments, we’ll continue to reunite families and make Canada the destination of choice for people from around the world,” tweeted Fraser.
During the pandemic, the IRCC implemented online exams, created an online application tracker, and began holding virtual citizenship ceremonies. In recent months, Canadian immigration officials have hosted over 350 virtual ceremonies per month, with over 170,000 new Canadians sworn in since April 1, 2020.
Canada is still optimistic about immigration. Ottawa hopes to welcome 411,000 new permanent residents this year, after increasing its immigration intake to a record high of 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021.
The Canadian federal government allocated $428.9 million over five years, with $398.5 million in outstanding amortization, in its budget last year to build and implement an enterprise-wide digital platform to replace the IRCC’s old Global Case Management System.
The government describes it as a “safe, stable, and versatile platform” that will “assist improve application processing and applicant support.” Ottawa also recommended $85 million in fresh funds to reduce its backlog of immigration applications in its Economic and Fiscal Update 2021.
This investment is for extra support employees to assist the country in bringing immigration application processing times, as well as the time it takes to grant study permits, work permits, and permanent residence card renewals, back up to its service standards by the end of this year.
The IRCC has already employed an additional 500 people to conduct this work. Canada is also utilizing innovative data analytics to pre-sort visitor visa applications, reducing processing time by 87 per cent.
The ultimate decision will always be made by an IRCC officer, but the technology will improve customer service by assisting IRCC in managing the increasing volume of visitor visa applications, according to the immigration department’s website. The immigration minister’s latest vow to speed up and track applications was received with cautious hope and some concern about the present delays on Twitter.
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