On January 31, 2022, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that the government will return to the standard processing time for immigration applications by the end of 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a huge backlog in processing immigration applications, and thus applicants are waiting longer than ever. The Government of Canada has announced that it will spend $85 million to work through these applications, hoping to at least clear the backlog of permanent resident applications by the end of the year. Previously, while applicants could check the average processing times for their type of application, these timeframes did not include delays caused by COVID-19.
The government is currently in the process of hiring 500 more staff to work on this to assist in the short-term, but will also be implementing permanent changes to ensure new applications are worked through quickly.
For example, the government has created a digital case status tracker, an online tool that allows one to check the status of their claim. Unfortunately, it seems as though this tracker, at least for now, still provides individuals with minimal information about their applications, such as whether they have completed a medical exam yet or paid all their fees.
Additionally, later this year, nearly all permanent resident applications will have to be filed online as opposed to using paper forms. The government believes that this will make it easier to track the status of one’s application.
The goal of these new measures are to improve efficiency long-term while working through the backlog, which currently sits at 1.8 million applications.
The government has also updated their online processing times to more accurately reflect how long applications take from the time you apply to receiving a final decision. The updated processing times include:
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant delays, there were long delays in immigration applications long before the pandemic as well. Additionally, IRCC has had to move critical resources to respond to the refugee crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine. While these permanent changes seem to be a step in the right direction, it will take months or even years to determine how effective they truly are.
If you are requiring any assistance on immigration cases, the Law Office of Matthew Jeffery are experts in all Canadian Immigration matters and specialize in complex cases. Contact us to submit your case or fill out a FREE Assessment form to see if you qualify to be assisted with our immigration services.