The Backlog of Immigration to Canada Has Dropped to 2.2 Million

In a new report released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the country’s immigration backlog has dropped to 2.2 million.

Current Immigration Inventories

As of November 30, there are 314,630 citizenship applicants, compared to 331,401 on October 31.

At the end of November, the permanent residence inventory stood at 506,421, compared to 512,342 as of December 2.

As of November 3, there were 1,537,566 people living in temporary residences, compared to 1,416,125 people on December 2.

Consequently, two of three major categories saw reductions, and the temporary residence inventory saw the biggest drop.

Immigration Category Persons as of December 2, 2022
Permanent Residence 512,342
Temporary Residence 1,416,125
Citizenship 314,630
Grand total 2,243,097

Express Entry and PNP Inventories

As of December 2, 43,326 applications for Express Entry programs remained in the queue, up over 3,500 from the 39,589 applications on November 3.

There has been an increase of nearly 5,000 applications for the Canadian Experience Class among people applying for Express Entry programs.

As of July this year, IRCC resumed holding Express Entry invitation rounds for all programs. Due to IRCC’s struggle to meet its Express Entry service standard of six months or less, draws were limited to candidates in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) between September 21, 2021, and July 6, 2022.

Since July 6, IRCC has paused the sending of Express Entry invitations to Federal Skilled Worker Program and Canadian Experience Class candidates, reducing the inventory. For those who have received a permanent residence invitation since July 6, the department is back to its six-month service standard.

There are 62,343 total applications in the PNP inventory (both base and enhanced combined).

Family Class Inventory

Compared to November 3, when it was 128,112, the inventory of all family-class immigration programs has dropped to 127,091.

As of November 3, Spouses and Partners sponsorship inventories stood at 62,106, a modest increase.

Currently, there are 53,770 people waiting for decisions in the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), compared to 55,653 in November.

Service Standards

At the end of September, there were 1.5 million applications in backlog, meaning IRCC cleared over 350,000 applications from the backlog. Meanwhile, permanent residency applications in inventory rose.

It is considered backlog when an application hasn’t been processed within service standards. IRCC’s service standard differs from the actual amount of time it takes to process applications. These standards provide a timeline, or goal, for how long it should take to process an application. Applications that are not processed within the service standard for their program are categorized as backlog.

All lines of business at IRCC are expected to be processed within service standards by 80%. A permanent residence application through the Express Entry program is expected to take six months to process. For other economic class lines of business, it takes longer. A 12-month service standard is stated by IRCC for spousal and child family sponsorship.

The processing time for temporary residence applications varies between 60-120 days based on the type of application (work or study) and the country of origin.

Backlog Reduction

In the same period last year, the department made 2.3 million final decisions on permanent residents, temporary residents, and citizenships.

By the end of March 2023, IRCC hopes to have a backlog of less than 50% across all lines of business. For most permanent resident programs, the department began transitioning to 100% digital applications on September 23, with accommodations available for those who could not apply online.

In addition, citizenship applications for those over the age of 18 are now 100% online. IRCC plans to make all citizenship applications digital by the end of this year, including those for minors.

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