Visa Crunch

Canada Has Nearly 2 Million Application Backlog In Immigration

According to a new estimate, nearly two million people worldwide are awaiting the outcome of their Canadian visa applications. As per data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the country had a 1.8 million-person backlog as of February 1.

According to media sources, the application backlog includes potential citizens, permanent residents, international students, temporary workers, and visitors. Combining these categories results in a total of 1,815,628 people awaiting judgments, a 0.1 per cent increase from December 2021.

Since October, the number of pending Permanent Resident applications has decreased by 29,165, with the economic class showing the greatest improvement, followed by the family class.

Although study permit applications have decreased since October, the entire temporary housing inventory has increased by roughly 73,000 people during the same time period. Throughout the pandemic, there has been a spike in demand for various temporary residence categories, particularly to cover Canada’s workforce shortages.

Visitors, labourers, and students are the three categories or “classes” of temporary inhabitants. On January 31, Minister Fraser revealed that Canada intends to make 147,000 PR decisions in the first quarter of 2022, more than doubling the number made in the same period in 2021.

The minister also stated that IRCC’s $85 million budget will allow processing service standards for study permits, work permits, and permanent residence card renewals to return to normal by the end of the year.

Due to the severe backlog, Canada’s population is expected to reach 37 million in 2021, a 5.2 per cent increase from 2016, fueled primarily by immigration, according to government figures, with the downtowns and remote suburbs of major cities witnessing the most growth.

Between 2016 and 2021, Canada added 1.8 million people, with roughly 80 per cent of those new inhabitants coming from other parts of the world, keeping its status as the fastest-growing G7 country, according to Statistics Canada’s Census 2021 publication. IRCC is starting to handle Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) applications more quickly.

In early December, IRCC was processing 600 applications per month on average. This is significant since the FSWP has been Canada’s primary skilled worker immigration program since 1967, and as of June 2021, Canada has eliminated all travel limitations on all immigrants, giving IRCC an additional incentive to begin processing more FSWP applications.

The reason IRCC processed relatively few FSWP applications per month last year was so that it could focus on landing as many in-Canada applicants as possible in support of its target of landing 401,000 immigrants by 2021. The backlog of Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applications has also greatly reduced, which is not surprising.

In October, it had 48,225 people, but by December, it had dropped to 24,675 people. It is now around 15,100 people, a decrease of almost 9,500 people since December. This implies that IRCC will destroy the CEC inventory in the next months. The low number of CEC applicants is due to IRCC prioritizing its applications in 2021 to help it meet its 401,000 newcomer objective.

The study permit inventory has decreased by approximately 9,600 people since October, while the overall temporary residence inventory has increased by nearly 73,000 people within the same time period. The fact that IRCC continues to accept temporary residency applications on a rolling basis also contributes significantly to the growth. Throughout the pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for various types of temporary housing.

On December 31, 2021, the IRCC reported a backlog of approximately 448,000 citizenship applicants. On October 31, 2016, there were around 468,000 citizenship applications in the inventory. Citizenship applications fell by 20,000 in 61 days.

Furthermore, beginning September, IRCC has temporarily suspended Express Entry invitations to CEC candidates in order to minimize inventory and enhance processing times for Express Entry applicants.

In the coming days, the immigration minister will announce Canada’s new Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024, which will provide a better sense of which permanent residence applications IRCC will prioritize moving ahead.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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