Immigration benefits all Canadians by driving our economy, addressing labour shortages, and strengthening our communities. In response to the large volume of applications, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been improving its operations, adding resources where they are needed most, and streamlining processes that provide clients with the experience they expect and deserve.
Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that IRCC surpassed its goal to make 147,000 permanent residence final decisions in the first quarter of 2022—doubling the number of final decisions in the same time period in 2021. Through these efforts, Canada has welcomed over 108,000 new permanent residents so far this year.
In addition, Canada has exceeded its citizenship goals for 2021–2022, with over 210,000 new Canadian citizens. IRCC is modernizing and increasing its services for people who want to become Canadians, including offering online testing, virtual citizenship ceremonies, and an online application tracker to stay updated on their files.
These new achievements are the result of IRCC’s ongoing commitment to improving client service. IRCC made over half a million decisions and welcomed over 405,000 new permanent residents in 2021—the greatest number of newcomers in a year in Canadian history. Following a record year for study permits in 2019, IRCC increased its output by 32% in 2021 by finalizing almost 560,000 study permit applications. In the same year, nearly 169,000 applicants—a record number—made the transition from worker status to permanent residence in Canada.
Supported by additional funding of $85 million from the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update, we are continuing our efforts to reduce application inventories accumulated during the pandemic. The funding builds on the work that has already been done to reduce wait times, such as hiring new processing staff, digitizing applications, and reallocating work among our offices around the world.
As we strive to reduce application processing times, IRCC remains dedicated to providing meaningful, timely, and transparent information to its clients. Today, the Minister also announced new updates to IRCC’s online processing times tool to provide clients with more accurate estimates of how long it will take to process their application. Most permanent residence and citizenship services will now use dynamic processing times, with updated calculations posted weekly, based on data from the previous 6 months. Dynamic processing times for temporary residence services are already in place, based on data from the past 8 or 16 weeks.
These changes will provide realistic and up-to-date information for clients, and will reflect the volumes of applications being processed as well as the latest operational realities. They will allow those who want to come to Canada to live, work, and study to make plans based on a more accurate timeline. We continue our work to digitize and modernize how we deliver our programs and services, so Canada can continue to be a destination of choice for people all over the world.
“While navigating unprecedented challenges in Canada’s immigration system, we have kept client experience as our focus, leading to record levels of newcomers in Canada. Helping clients come to Canada quickly, with predictable processing times and efficient communication, remains a top priority for me. Canada is proud to be a destination of choice for so many people around the world, and we will continue to work hard to provide the best experience possible for them.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- On January 31, 2022, Minister Fraser announced new measures to improve client experience and modernize the immigration system. This included a goal to make 147,000 permanent residence final decisions in the first quarter of 2022.
- In the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update, the Government of Canada proposed $85 million in new funding to reduce application inventories. The investment will support additional staff, helping IRCC to welcome people who can help address labour shortages and to return to processing service standards in various programs, including for study permits, work permits and permanent resident card renewals. IRCC is also working to reduce processing times for visitor visas and proof of citizenship.
- In February 2022, IRCC launched a new digital case status tracker that allows some family class permanent residence applicants, sponsors and their representatives to more easily check their application status online. For the initial launch, the tracker is available for permanent residence applicants in the spouse, partner and dependent child categories.
- IRCC began holding virtual citizenship ceremonies on April 1, 2020. Between April 1, 2020, and January 31, 2022, more than 198,900 people took the Oath of Citizenship in more than 12,400 ceremonies using a virtual platform.