Canada is finally beginning to reduce its huge backlog of immigration applications, with work permits taking precedence.
During a recent hearing with the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser reaffirmed his earlier promise to improve work permit processing speeds.
According to media sources, Fraser stated that IRCC would use its $85 million budget to reduce processing waits that had been exacerbated by the pandemic.
The immigration minister had stated previously that by the end of 2022, service standards for work permits, study permits, proof of citizenship, and permanent residency card renewals would return to normal.
While the funding would be used to create tools such as electronic application systems and online application trackers, IRCC Assistant Deputy Minister Daniel Mills cautioned that this will not necessarily reduce processing times for permanent residence applications.
Except for International Experience Canada (IEC) work permits, which take 56 days, the standard processing time for work permits submitted outside of Canada is 60 days. Work permit extensions in Canada might take up to 120 days to process.
According to studies, prior to the pandemic, IRCC met these deadlines more than 87 per cent of the time. Official figures for 2020-2021 have yet to be announced.
This comes as the congestion in Canada’s immigration services has surpassed 1.8 million applications, including those from potential citizens, permanent residents, international students, temporary workers, and visitors. IRCC has more than 85,000 work visa applications waiting as of February 1.
While the load on IRCC’s system is unlikely to impair the chances of obtaining a study visa to study in the nation, it may represent a substantial difficulty for graduates who seek to stay in Canada. Those with post-graduate work permits (PGWP) who are about to expire may lose their right to work unless they obtain a new Canadian work permit or permanent residency status.
Despite this, some Canadian work permits have streamlined processes for workers in specific industries. The Global Personnel Stream, which allows Canadian firms to hire highly trained foreign talent faster when Canadians are unavailable for specific needs, has a processing threshold of 10 working days.
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. As per Statistics Canada, Canada had approximately 900,000 job openings in November, and immigration has long been the country’s approach to boost labour market growth.
Over the next three years, the country wants to accept more than 1.3 million new immigrants to assist its economy recover from Covid-19 and fuel future prosperity.
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