Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Challenges for 2021 & 2022
November 1, 2021
During the pandemic, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has accumulated a backlog of hundreds of thousands of applicants. This past summer, the Toronto Star reported there were more than 561,000 permanent residence applications to process, 748,000 temporary residence applications (visitor, workers and students), and 376,000 citizenship applications. These figures do not include applications that were not yet entered into the system.
Since the crisis in Afghanistan, IRCC has shifted resources to process applications for 40,000 Afghan refugees. There are also resources allocated to addressing the 7,300 extra applications submitted to the one-time Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR to PR) pathway which ended on August 31, 2021.
The Liberal Party pledged in its election platform to:
- Reduce processing times that have been impacted by COVID-19 to under 12 months.
- Improve applications for family reunification by introducing electronic applications.
- Expand the pathways to permanent residence fortemporary foreign workers and former international students through the Express Entry points system to allow for more temporary residents to be eligible for Express Entry.
- Introduce a new Municipal Nominee Program to help address labour shortages in rural communities.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has changed its immigration strategy to focus more on applicants who are already in the country. The Government will need to make decisions on when to resume Express Entry draws that include Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates. It will also have to decide how the new occupation classification system to be introduced in 2022 will affect eligibility.