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An Overview of IRCC’s Efforts to Modernize Canadian Immigration

On October 12, IRCC presented digital modernization slides to immigration representatives and the Canadian Bar Association’s immigration law section in a meeting to offer a summary of modernizing Canada’s immigration process.

Reasons Why Canada has Prioritized Improving Its Immigration Systems

The Canadian government recognizes that modifying Canada’s immigration application management systems is crucial to the country’s prosperity. Immigration minister Sean Fraser said in a press release, “Application processing delays have been incredibly frustrating for many individuals. Assisting clients to come to Canada quickly, with anticipated processing times and efficient communications with IRCC, remains a top priority. Immigration is benefitting all Canadians as it helps grow our economy and strengthen communities across the country.”

IRCC’s efforts to modernize immigration to Canada

Canada is taking the following steps to improve the application management systems throughout Canadian immigration to achieve the nation’s goals of better processing times and more efficient communication.

1. Financial Investment

• Canada proposed $85 million in new funding to reduce application inventories in its Economic and Fiscal Update 2021.
• IRCC’s legacy Global Case Management System (GCMS) was gradually replaced by a new enterprise-wide digital platform under the 2021 budget, which will invest $428.9 million over five years, and $398.5 million in amortization.

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2. Growing Use of Advanced Data Analytics

• Data analytics has been shown to speed up the assessment of routine visitor visa files by 87%.

3. Permitting More Applicants to Use Digital Application Portal

• Currently, new applications for spousal sponsorship are being processed in 12 months according to the service standard.
• A transition to 100% digital applications for permanent residence programs began in September 2022, with alternative formats still available to those who need them.

4. An introduction to the Permanent Residence Application Tracker
5. Digital system for receipt of permanent residency cards

• According to the statistics, 225,000 permanent residents used this portal between June and December 2021.

6. Advances for Citizenship Applicants

These advances include:
• Online testing
• An online application tracker/submission system
• Virtual citizenship formalities
• Allowing interested applicants to self-administer their oath by signed attestation and celebrate their citizenship afterward

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7. Apprising Existing Procedures

IRCC is working to:

• Publish forward-looking estimates of application processing times using the online processing times tool

• Certain immigration applicants should not be required to undergo a medical examination

• Increase the number of telephone interviews and video interviews for some programs, including virtual interviews at our overseas offices and even some visa application centers.

Timeline 

IRCC’s digital program modernization plan, which began in December 2020, will be implemented in three phases:

Phase 1: Stabilize (December 2020 to November 2021)
• Focus: The GCMS needs to be stabilized until a new platform can be delivered in phase three.
Phase 2: Standardize (December 2021 to March 2023)
• Focus: “Building the fundamental cloud elements for phase three capabilities”

Phase 3: Enhance (April 2023 to December 2026)
• Focus: Ensure [IRCC] is ‘digitally ready’ with a new digital operating platform

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Projected Results

As a result of the above measures, application processing times will be decreased and clients will be able to communicate more efficiently two-way. Applicants will receive the following benefits and outcomes thanks to the improvements Canada is working on.

• Extra flexibility with application interviews/processing
• Enhanced application processing and support
• Offer better approximations of expected application processing times
• Reduced waiting times
• Permit hiring of extra application processing staff
• Assist officers sort and processing visitor visa applications submitted from outside Canada
• Help IRCC manage the growing volume of applications
• Reduce COVID-19-related delays associated with processing paper applications
• Provide clients with immediate confirmation of successful application submission
• Access to application information and status updates online
• Save both time and money on the medical examination process
• Permitting candidates to plan their immigration journey via increased predictability

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