After receiving an allocation of $85 million during the 2021 Budget, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, commented on different steps and measures that the ministry would take to ensure that prospective immigrants continue to view Canada has the best country to migrate to.
Among the different areas that the country aims to improve, the IRCC highlighted Canada's Visa Processing system as a priority. Stating the short-comings in the system, mostly as a result of the pandemic closing down its visa offices around the world, as well as being short-staffed, the IRCC promises improved processing times for most immigration visas by the end of the current year.
Feb 2nd, 2022
Starting the new year with reassessing the steps needed to improve the immigration and permanent residency processes, Canadas Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has shed light on the plans to bring back the immigration system on track.
In the first order of business to reduce the processing times across the IRCC processes, Canada allocated $85 million in the 2021 Budget. Highlighting the importance of the budget, Fraser added that Canada would be able to resume the processing service standards for study and work permits as well as permanent resident card renewals by the end of the year, all the while also working towards reducing processing times for proof of citizenship and visitor visas.
In 2021, the IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, finalised its decision on 500,000+ permanent resident applications. However, Fraser added that Canada has been planning to finalise decisions on 147,000 permanent residency applicants within the 1st quarter of 2022, which is double the figures witnessed in 2021.
Additionally, Fraser also announced Canada will soon bring in a Permanent Residence Application Tracker in February this year for spouses and dependents, allowing applicants to track the application information and status online.
However, these moves had been made due to the revelations made from internal IRCC documents, which highlighted the actual anticipated processing times for economic immigration programmes. As per data, the processing times have been longer than what is actually mentioned on the government website. To combat this, Fraser highlighted that an update on the online processing times tool in the coming months should bring about more up-to-date estimates on the processing times.
In a memo released on November 24, last year, the IRCC had been expecting a 20-month waiting period on the Foreign Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP) application processing times, way beyond the 6-month waiting period for Express Entry-managed programmes. Additionally, the memo also highlighted an 8-month waiting period on the Canadian Experience Class application processing times.
However, in a media release, Fraser commented that he acknowledges the frustration caused by the delays in the processing times. Nevertheless, he promises to help clients travel to ... Canada quickly, with predictable processing times and an efficient communication with IRCC, being the top priority for him.
Steps Taken to Reduce Processing Times by IRCC
Realising the need for modernising the IRCC operations, in light of the challenges raised during the pandemic, the IRCC recruited around 500 additional processing staff, digitised the applications and distributed the work within IRCC offices around the globe.
As the pandemic restricted the in-person services, IRCC had to transfer paper-based immigration to online services. The IRCC also announced that the online application portal is expected to be fully implemented by the 2022 Spring or Summer months. It further highlighted the average processing times for spousal sponsorship applicants have resumed to 12 months, the service standard for new applications.
Additionally, a new portal facilitated a completely remote mode, allowing residence applicants in Canada to complete the entire process and even receive the permanent residency cards without the need for in-person interactions. Between June and December 2021, 225,000 permanent residents made use of this portal.
Further, to increase the Temporary Resident Visa application process, the IRCC announced the use of advanced data analytics, which does not refuse or recommend refusals of applications, something only IRCC immigration officers are allowed to do. This process, which was implemented in 2018, is claimed to assess applications 87% faster.
As far as citizenship processing is concerned, the IRCC has brought in online testing, developed an online application tracker as well as hosted virtual citizenship ceremonies. The future of citizenship in Canada seems to be even more digitised, with people being allowed to self-administer their Oath via signed attestation, subsequently celebrating citizenship later on, thus cutting down the waiting time for those in their final stages of the citizenship process.
Jan 31, 2022
Shedding light on Canadas initiative to help international students, temporary foreign workers and PGP, i.e. Parents and Grandparents Programme, the Canadian Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser recently spoke to the media, answering questions that raised concerns among many.
Specifically for international students, since September last year, no Express Entry draws have for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates have taken place, worse still, Federal Skilled Worker Programme candidates have not witnessed a draw since December 2020. This has caused those, who would have been considered eligible, to see their temporary status expire, thus requiring them to leave their joins and even the country.
In this regard, while Fraser did not mention any type of work permit extensions for such candidates, he did highlight his mandate letter that calls for pathways leading to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers and international students. However, no final decisions on the type of programmes that may be available.
Speaking on the FSWP draws, Fraser called the draws temporary and highlighted Canadas intention on resuming the draws for the programme, however, no timeline was mentioned in the interview.
Nevertheless, Fraser spoke about his interest in finding out new ways to help international students to see higher studies in Canada as a springboard to Canadian permanent residency.
Speaking on backlogs in Express Entry, it was highlighted that Express Entry candidates could have been asked to wait up to 20 months or nearly 3 years, to receive a decision. However, Fraser commented that the backlogs were specific to FSWP candidates, where the wait time was as high as 20 months and CEC candidates, with an 8-month wait-time.
Speaking on labour shortages, Fraser acknowledged the reason behind the labour force growth to be foreign workers. Additionally, since Canada is in short of workers, Fraser expects the Trusted Employer Stream to reduce barriers for employers with a good foreign worker hiring track record. Moreover, improving the immigration system is one of the 5 major areas covered under the CA$85 million in Canadas budget.
Along with tackling labour shortages, Fraser also confirmed plans to bring in more health care workers to Canada. He added that bringing in foreign health care workers had been a priority initiative in Canada since the start of the pandemic.
However, the biggest challenge as an immigration minister, according to Fraser is the Parents and Grandparents Programme (PGP).
Fraser pointed out that nearly 200,000 applications are received for around 10,000 spaces, any given year. However, in the past two years, PGP functioned as a lottery system. While some have criticised the move calling it unfair to those who have been waiting for years, Fraser backed the system, acknowledging that while many get hung out to dry, it does put everyone on equal footing.
Source: CIC News
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