Canadian immigration minister to make an announcement on modernizing immigration system


Published on January 31st, 2022 at 08:00am EST

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser

Canada’s immigration minister, Sean Fraser, is expected to announce improvements to the immigration system that will address processing and client experience.

This is a developing story. CIC News will update following the minister’s announcement.

A teleconference is scheduled January 31 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. The announcement will be about “improving and modernizing the immigration system.”

In recent weeks, internal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) documents have revealed that the department’s actual anticipated processing times for economic immigration programs is much longer than what it says on the government website.

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According to a November 24 memo, at the time, IRCC was expecting Foreign Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) application processing to take 20 months, well beyond the processing standard of six months for Express Entry-managed programs. The same memo said processing was expected to be nearly eight months for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates.

In the 2021 Budget, Canada allocated $85 million to reduce processing times across all IRCC lines of business. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called on Fraser to reduce processing times in the minister’s mandate letter.

Immigration Canada is currently facing a backlog of more than 1.8 million people waiting on decisions. This includes citizenship applicants, temporary foreign workers, families, students, refugees, and visitors.

IRCC recently issued a media release saying it is using advanced data analytics to speed up Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications. The system does not refuse or recommend refusals of applications, IRCC says only immigration officers can do that. It was first implemented in 2018, and allows applications to be assessed 87% faster.

The pandemic highlighted the need for IRCC operations to modernize. Since public health measures reduced in-person services, IRCC has brought some paper-based immigration programs online. IRCC told CIC News in an email it expects the online application portal to be fully implemented in the spring or summer of 2022.

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