Nobody really wants to hear about visa and permission problems, but that is exactly what applicants in Canada are experiencing right now. According to data released from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada’s large application backlog has risen to nearly two million people.
Within 18 days, the inventory increased by about 99,000 people (April 11 to 29, 2022). Applications in the temporary resident category, which includes study and work permits, temporary resident visas, and visitor records, greatly increased the numbers, while the permanent resident category climbed by 638 applications during the same time.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser came before the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on Thursday to participate in the committee’s backlog study, addressing recently published IRCC data. Applicants requesting status updates may have to wait months since Fraser has stated that present backlogs will not be cleared until 2023 when processing standards are expected to return to normal.
According to the most recent data, the number of PR hopefuls has increased from 410,000 to 530,000 in the last two years. IRCC has reduced its Express Entry backlog by 4,292 people since mid-April this year, after invites had been halted since September 2021. For candidates who meet all qualifying criteria, the Express Entry draw for economic class migrants under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) categories offer PR status based on a points-based system. It is scheduled to reopen in early July of this year.
IRCC’s expedited application processing methods include adding more workers to its 11,000 employees, as well as digitising the immigration system with an $827 Canadian dollar budget. The change has been beneficial in boosting operations in recent months, allowing IRCC to process 156,000 permanent residency applications in the first quarter of 2022.
Most people in Canada with temporary residence status, including international graduates with post-graduate work permits (PGWPs), are in immigration limbo as a result of the queue. IRCC has issued a new open work permit enabling PGWP holders whose licences expire between January 31 and December 31 of this year to continue working in the nation.
“Beginning in summer 2022, former international students who are in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit that expires between January and December 2022 will be eligible for an additional open work visa of up to 18 months,” according to the official statement. “We are looking towards a streamlined, expedited approach for this, and more information will be provided in the coming weeks.”
The recently revealed open work visa rules excluded many temporary residents who had just missed out on a chance to stay in Canada. “This is not right. We are also humans; we were simply unlucky that our work licences expired in December. In the PGWP extensions, luck should not be a factor. “Is it our fault?” Tara Emami, an Iranian graduate from the University of Toronto, was quoted as saying that her PGWP ended in December 2021, making her ineligible for the open work visa.
PGWPs are one-time agreements that allow international students who have graduated from Canadian educational institutions to work for up to three years. It’s frequently the first step toward PR eligibility under the Express Entry system, which requires PGWP holders to have at least one year of Canadian work experience. If their application to become a new immigrant fails, they will need to seek a change of status when their permit expires.
“We did nothing wrong, but we are not qualified for the last PGWP extension, this one, and by the time the Express Entry draws resume, it will be too late for us,” Emami continued. “We urgently require permanent resident status for all of us.”
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